WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A type of cloth was discovered by a Brown University study that can effectively stop mosquitos from biting.
- The experiments which involved counting the number of bites on a bare skin compared to one that is covered with graphene clothing noted that mosquitos paid no attention to the graphene-lined fabric.
- Furthermore, the material is also puncture-resistant making it too tough for mosquitos to bite.
In 2016, around 445,000 people were killed by mosquito-transmitted malaria, putting about 50 percent of the world’s population at risk for the disease.
Now, researchers from Brown University discovered a type of fabric that can substantially lower the frequency of mosquito bites that could stop deadly diseases such as malaria from escalating.
Graphene-lined clothing, which is a very thin but unbelievably strong material, can actually plug sweat odors which lures the insects to bite. While testing breathability into the fabric, the scientists also found that the fabric was too tough for the blood-sucking insects to bite through.
“We had been working on fabrics that incorporate graphene as a barrier against toxic chemical. We thought maybe graphene could provide mosquito bite protection as well,” said Professor Robert Hurt, the senior study author and leader of the clothing’s development team.
The experiment involved counting the number of bites received on the bare skin of participants compared to those of a group whose skin was covered in cheesecloth, and another who covered their skin with graphene oxide (GO) films wrapped in cheesecloth.
Surprisingly, the researchers observed that the mosquitos completely ignored the graphene-covered arm and did not even seem to care to land on the skin patch.
According to Ph.D. student and study author, Cintia Castilho, they initially assumed that graphene, being puncture-resistant, would be a physical barrier to biting. However, after seeing that the insects swarmed to the graphene barrier dabbed with human sweat, the team now believes that there must be a chemical barrier as well that blocks the mosquitos. Additionally, the puncture-resistance property of GO to mosquito bites is effective only when dry.
Another form of GO with reduced oxygen content called rGO was shown to provide a bite barrier while it was both wet and dry, but since it wasn’t particularly breathable, the researchers are now trying to find a way to stabilize the GO so that it’s tougher when wet.
Another version of GO called the rGO was also shown to contain a bite barrier while it was both wet and dry. But because it lacks breathability, the researchers are trying to determine ways how to modify the GO so that it remains strong even while wet.
The results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.
Source: Good News Network