Biomimetics and Biomimicry in Engineering

Fighting dengue with Xeroshield

In Info, Knowledge Transfer on 2012/08/20 at 11:01 am

Dengue, also known as breakbone fever (apparently, what you feel when you get it), is the most important viral disease of humans transmitted by mosquitoes, affecting up to 100 million people each year in at least 112 countries. It is an urban disease transmitted by mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti) that live in water storage containers (e.g. rainfall collection deposits or abandoned swimming pools). Tackling the spread in numbers of these mosquitoes is vital to curbing the disease incidence.

A. aegypti mosquito larvae and (one) pupa

Xeroshield Ltd, based at the Roslin Biocentre in Edinburgh,  is dedicated to the development of novel insect control methods offering alternatives to chemical insecticides.  Their ongoing projects, involving collaborations with both private companies and academic institutions, include the development of an insecticidal textile for use in mosquito nets, the development of a novel tick removal device linked to a laboratory-based Borrelia detection service, and the evaluation of new potential applications for a non-neurotoxic insecticidal compounds.

We have been working with them on a novel device to control the life cycle of the mosquito dengue (from larvae to fully developed flying insects). We have created the prototype for a device which will use an innovative strategy developed by Xeroshield. This new approach to pest control uses no chemicals or biological agents, so it poses no threat to human health and safety. Xeroshield is taking the device to a new stage of product development before field tests are carried out in several tropical and subtropical countries.

This work has been funded by a Scottish Funding Council Innovation voucher via Interface.

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