Electric Force Field

Preventing Infectious Bites: Repulsing Mosquitoes with Electric Field Pulses

Organization: Barcelona Institute for Global Health

Location: Barcelona, Spain

Problem: Vector control programs have historically relied on the use of insecticides to control mosquito populations, but the efficacy of this vector control tool will decrease rapidly as mosquitoes develop resistance to common insecticides.

Solution: Electronic Mosquito Barriers (EMBs) use high power pulsed electric fields to repel mosquitoes. Using pulsations that vary randomly in both strength and frequency, the EMBs create a mosquito-repelling force field. The unpredictability of the pulsations makes it nearly impossible for mosquitoes to learn or adapt to when, where, and with what force the electric field is coming. EMBs could prevent mosquito bites for multiple species, and can provide bite protection for indi-viduals or groups of people in various indoor and outdoor settings. EMBs may also repel other arthropod disease vectors of medical and veterinary importance, such as sand flies, biting midges, tsetse flies, fleas, and kissing bugs, preventing the spread of other infectious diseases.

Innovators:

Krijn Paaijmans – The Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal, Spain);

Elisa Sicuri – The Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal, Spain);

Andreas Rose – Biogents AG (Germany);

Elies Molins – Materials Science Institute of Barcelona (ICMAB, Spain);

Horace Cox – Vector Control Services (VCS) of the Ministry of Public Health of Guyana;

Primary motivation:

"[To] conduct academic research on the surveillance and control of mosquito vectors of infectious diseases (e.g. malaria, zika) with a clear impact in society by reducing disease morbidity and mortality."

"We see over and over that outdoor biting mosquitoes continue to pose a threat to our health while realizing that we do not have the appropriate interventions to prevent mosquito bites. We aim to think out of the box, and come with a solution that targets those vectors in novel clever ways."

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