New fabric embedded with mosquito repellent

Two Cornell University researchers from Africa recently created a hooded body suit molecularly embedded with an insecticide to repel mosquitoes that could carry the malaria virus.

Although insecticide-treated bed nets are common in areas where malaria is endemic, the prototype garment can be worn during the day and the active ingredient will not dissipate as does skin-based repellents, according to

The repellent and the fabric are bonded at the nanolevel, using what are called metal organic framework molecules. These MOF's are clustered crystalline compounds that can hold three times the insecticide of a normal fibrous net.

"The bond on our fabric is very difficult to break," Kenya native Frederick Ochanda, a post-doctoral associate in fiber science and apparel design, said, reports. "The nets in use now are dipped in a solution and not bonded in this way, so their effectiveness doesn't last very long.

"Seeing malaria's effect on people in Kenya, it's very important for me to apply fiber science to help this problem. A long-term goal of science is to be able to come up with solutions to help protect human health and life, so this project is very fulfilling for me."

Ochanda said that he hopes to aid in the development of an MOF fabric that can release repellent in response to changes in light or temperature. Wearers could use more protection at night when mosquitoes are increasingly active.