Smelly Socks Help Fight Malaria
The developers of an innovative outdoor decoy device that uses the odour of smelly socks or a similar synthetic smell to lure and kill malaria-carrying mosquitoes, have just won a grant to test their design and then take it from the lab through production to market.
Grand Challenges Canada and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have jointly awarded Tanzanian entomologist Dr. Fredros Okumu and his team at the Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania, East Africa, the grant in order eventually for their mosquito traps to be available at low cost to the communities that most need them.
The decoy device, which resembles a portable weather station in the shape of a large box with louvred sides, is placed outside the home and complements indoor mosquito-foiling strategies such as bed nets and sprays.
In their research, Okumu and his team at the Ifakara Health Institute found that the most effective way to lure mosquitoes to the decoy device was to bait them with the odour of smelly socks, or using synthetic chemicals with a similar smell. They found that four times as many mosquitoes are lured by both the real odour and the synthetic version as they are by humans. ...