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Principal Investigator: Fredros Okumu
Project leader/ Coordinator: Marceline Finda
Project Administrator: Rukia Mohamed
Funding Partner: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)
Start date: Oct. 3, 2016
End date: Sept. 30, 2019
Mosquitoes predominantly bite people around the feet and ankles, and protecting the lower limbs of individuals result in up to 65% reduction in mosquito bites. In this project, we are exploiting this mosquito behaviour and use footwear as a platform to release highly effective wide-area spatial mosquito repellents, creating full-time protection against both day-biting and night-biting mosquitoes at individual and household level.
Day-biting Aedes mosquitoes, which transmit most of the arboviral infections that the world is least prepared to combat, i.e. Zika, Dengue, Yellow fever and Chikungunya, are largely non-responsive to LLINs and IRS. Moreover, no vaccines and no reliable diagnostics for field use are available for many of these arboviruses, and therefore mosquito control remains the main intervention.
Yet, the aquatic habitats of these mosquitoes are often small, scattered, cryptic, temporary and sometimes indoors, hence difficulty of larval source management. Though already widely prevalent in the Americas and the pacific, the threat of outbreaks of these mosquito-borne infections including Zika outbreaks in Africa is increasingly realistic, given the large volume of intercontinental travel (e.g. the forthcoming Olympic games), the large endemic populations of known vectors, evidence of endemic and geographically diversifying Zika virus in multiple African countries, e.g. Uganda, Gabon, Nigeria and Senegal. Together, mosquito-borne infections are among the most costly, significantly burdening low-income countries. For example global Dengue fever epidemics cost ~8 billion dollars annually, while malaria budgetary needs are consistently above 5 billion dollars annually.
Effective and low-cost tools are therefore urgently needed to proactively prevent outbreaks and control infections. For maximum benefits, scalability and user-acceptability, such new approaches should be integrated against all or most mosquito-borne infections, and should be possible to implement alongside existing measures. The project is designed to create low-cost repellent-treated sandals that provide round-the-clock protection against Dengue, Zika, Chikungunya and Malaria.#