Malaria poses a serious threat. According to the World Health Organisation, there were over 216,000,000 cases of malaria in 2016, 445,000 thousand of which ended in death. The race is now on to prevent this vector-borne disease from spreading, especially in rural areas of Africa, where access to healthcare is limited.
At Fight Malaria, we focus on preventing malaria through education. We inform and educate local communities on the malaria threat and share best practices as to how they can protect themselves. We are also partners with Roperfree, a mosquito repellent brand located in Kampala, Uganda. They produce mosquito repellent with proven efficacy from the Ugandan government.
Most mosquito repellents are effective, whether they are in a spray bottle or in the form of a wristband. In addition to long-lasting insecticide bed nets in areas away from stagnant water, individuals can drastically reduce the malaria threat.
But there’s a new player in the fight against malaria. Still in prototype, Kite Patch, according to their website, makes humans ‘invisible to mosquitoes’. The product does not constitute a spray or a mixture of natural oils, but a small square patch with similar dimensions to a smoking patch.
Developers of Kite Patch have reported that users are protected for up to 48 hours at a time.
The initial discovery of the compounds used in Kite Patch was led by scientist Dr Anandasankar Ray and his team from the University of California, Riverside, with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.
Their research was published in the Nature journal in 2011. It suggests that Kite Patch could protect against malaria, dengue fever, and other mosquito-borne diseases.
Whilst Kite Patch is not directly targeted at those at risk of malaria, theoretically, it could be used in malaria-endemic regions to protect individuals from mosquito bites.
Malaria is a serious disease spread by mosquitoes. Locations with tropical climates are ideal for malaria-carrying mosquitoes to thrive and infect innocent people. Those most at risk of malaria include children, mothers and elderly people.
It has not been announced when Kite Patch will be released but if it is released, it may become a vital weapon in the fight against malaria. The cost of the unit is unknown and so it may not be economically viable to mass produce and distribute these units across Africa, but, in the space of a few years, Kite Patch may go on to become the most effective way to prevent malaria.
Kite Patch is part of the Kite brand that has an existing line of mosquito repellents aimed at families and pets. The company, part of the ieCrowd family, is using entomological science to research new ways to ward off mosquitoes.
Malaria still continues to pose a threat to billions of people. Whilst science organisations work on developing a malaria vaccine, we need to shift our focus to prevention and protection. Preventing malaria is much more effective than treating it and innovations like Kite Patch may be able to provide this crucial, long-lasting protection in a more compact form factor.