Scientists at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have developed a ring that repels mosquitoes, a discovery that could provide complete protection from the disease-spreading insect without the hassle of carrying repellants along. This is an immensely important advancement as mosquitoes are one of the most dangerous species to inhabit planet Earth, spreading not only diseases from human to human but also transmitting diseases from other species to humans.
The science and other stuff to know
Scientists at MLU created the wearable repellant with the aid of 3D printing, according to a press release. To make the ring, they first infused the active ingredient of the repellant into the material and then shaped it into a ring using a 3D printer. The creators believe the repellant can be shaped into a ring or a bracelet that can be worn easily to repel mosquitoes for an extended period of time.
The active ingredient in the repellant ring is “IR3535”, an insect-repelling formula developed by MERCK. Professor René Androsch of MLU stated in the press release that repellants based on IR3535 are gentle on the skin and have been used in either spray or lotion forms directly applicable to the skin. But Androsch is planning to go a step ahead by working on techniques that would allow the repellant to remain effective over a longer period of time.
Mosquitoes are one of the most prolific species when it comes to spreading diseases, having the capacity to infect hundreds of millions of people each year. Many scientists believe that each year, mosquitoes cause well over a million direct and indirect fatalities, with many more afflicted by the effects of various mosquito-borne diseases.
Some of the deadly diseases mosquitoes help spread include malaria, dengue fever, West Nile virus, chikungunya, yellow fever, and Zika. Mosquitoes are especially potent in the developing world, where hundreds of thousands of people have limited access to healthcare services, making the diseases all the more lethal.
The cost-effective development of such rings could do wonders for the populations endangered by mosquitoes. The rings would not only be affordable but also immensely easy to transport in large quantities which would further bring the cost of acquisition down.
The rings could also be useful for people with skin complications that do not allow for the application of sprays or lotions on the body. What’s more, they could even work to provide effective protection to fussy toddlers who raise a storm each time a medication is offered.
Although the researchers have determined that a wearable repellent is absolutely possible, their development is only at the prototype stage. Scientists say much more testing is needed to consider how wearing insect-repelling rings and bracelets perform in real-life conditions.
But given the life-saving and disease-prevention potential the rings carry, taking the prototype to production will hopefully be sooner than later.