Crowdfunded mosquito-confusing patch to be sent to Uganda




Seemed from my reading that the original research was based on toxic compounds, but that the startup worked with chemists to reformulate them into non-toxic ones being used on the Kite project.


The two compounds in the initial discovery are 2,3-butanedione and 1-hexanol. They are only dangerous with ridiculously high exposures. Published data show LD50 values (exposures required to kill half the experimental animals tested over a 24 hour period) of ~1,500mg/kg and ~700mg/kg for 2,3-butanedione and 1-hexanol, respectively, in rats (Google MSDS sheets for them). Of course, rats aren't people but they're a decent substitute.

In other words, you could probably eat the tags and be just fine. Except for choking on the plastic...


The people in Marketing met with the folks from Legal and they have agreed we should use "toxish."


In other words, long term exposure has not been tested.


DDT is pretty safe too if you just look at the LD50 for rats. The CDC (a major user of DDT in their early role as a malaria suppression agency) spent decades prior to the 1970s arguing for its safety in humans. I'm definitely in favor of rapid development of new tools for reducing malaria (or any other major cause of morbidity and mortality), but I'm a bit leery of skipping the kind of testing protocols we've developed to reduce the likelihood that these 'solutions' are another DDT - effective at their intended purpose, but with devastating unintended impacts. Testing things in underdeveloped countries that can't pass regulatory muster in industrialized countries has a long and nasty history..


It's kind of hard to test decades of exposure without waiting decades to test.

On the other hand, exposure to Malaria is very dangerous and often fatal. THAT we've got lots of testing on.


To be fair, this isn't 'spraying chemicals far and wide' or 'introducing species that can shred an ecosystem'. The delivery mechanism must be taken into account as well, and this method is FAR more responsible.


Can't help but react to language that is pretending to clarify while omitting a salient fact, perhaps the most important consideration. I think we get so comfortable with weasely arguments that we will trot them out for any cause.

This kind of argument depends on the reader feeling an ego boost for agreeing and seeing the logic presented. It triggers a desire to overlook what is not being said because one would have to actively disagree, i.e. spoil the fun, to make ones point. Better to feel the camaraderie and STFU.

I would feel more comfortable with a proposal that presented all the facts without dressing them up with manipulative tactics.

This is never off topic.


Hmm, you misinterpret, I fear. I pointed out simple facts that need to be kept into account. If I am living somewhere and Malaria is a serious risk, then I should have every right to utilize any method I wish to prevent myself from contracting that condition.

Humans are humans and 'being in a third world country' does NOT mean 'naive fool that must be protected from themselves'. This is a very responsible and environmentally low-risk delivery mechanism.

I personally feel I have NO right to tell somebody they're not allowed to explore this option until we Americans decide it's all okay. Malaria's not important here, the FDA isn't terribly impressive anyway, and they're not motivated to make this a primary focus.

Does that perhaps clarify things?


How could I misinterpret you when I wasn't interpreting you to begin with? I was addressing the comment second from the top wherein he argues that it is all hunky dory because short term exposure has been shown to have no risk.

You can apologize for yelling at me now.


Then I misinterpreted because you replied to me instead of the OP

points up

We both made perfect sense from our perspectives, and were confused by a mechanic. We both are of course terribly sorry, but not for any good reason since nobody did anything wrong.



My initial statement was a reply. It is this damn comment system! Unclear threading. Yeah, that's what it is.

All in good fun. (confused eyebrow emoticon)

Of course the people living with malaria should do what they see fit.


Yeah, that's the ticket!

The funny thing is, despite it hitting the wrong audience your response actually was better written and worked better as a reply than some responses I get that are actually intended.

So, I think we both get like. . . ninety seven bonus points for awesome misunderstanding management and great communication skills.

attempts to pat self on back, injures self slightly


Any chance that this technique or technology could be used to confuse bedbugs?


Wow, that's a good question! They use CO2 sensors as well!

As do ticks!

Time to research, that's an excellent question!


thx. Seems to me that the addressability of "bedbug" market is large demographically and enormous financially given that hotels represent the most public "front-line" in the battle with these buggers. I suspect that a crowd-sourced fund could draw big participation that would - speaking somewhat naively regarding the science - feedback benefits to the mosquito-specific application and even accelerate its application to ticks and other CO-2 trackers. Ya' think Paris Hilton's dad might rally his 0.0001% bracket friends to expedite such a low-cost, low-visibility solution to a problem his company undoubtedly struggles with regardless of geography.


Well, it's not the former. And it's not a 'species', true, but neither was DDT. However, I agree with you that this method looks like a far more specific delivery system than spraying on waterways, albeit one which more specifically releases around humans. Having said that, malaria is a hideous disease, and I agree with the argument that's made periodically that using something like DDT in specific and limited cases is worth the known problems, because those known problems aren't as bad as malaria. I'd also make the argument that even if this chemical/delivery package combo ends up having some measurable negative effect on either humans or the broader ecosystem, these negative effects need to be weighed against the catastrophic effects of malaria. However none of that is an argument for deliberately bypassing known-good processes for detecting negative impacts of new systems by deliberately moving testing & deployment to a country without strong regulatory systems. That's just using the poor and desperate as guinea pigs.


Ahh! See, you've been tricked!

We don't have a known, good process that is consistently utilized by our government. The mistake is thinking that because they are a perceived authority they are justified in that role.

We are fully capable of using responsible testing processes, in fact it is FAR easier to set up a responsible testing program without interference from our government, and we of course should be responsible in this particular case.

Our FDA behaves FAR too inconsistently to be considered useful in this respect. Better to create something from scratch. (this is a personal peeve of mine, having worked for years on Wisconsin's Badger Care programs I can't treat that part of our system with anything other than contempt, it's . . . dangerous.)


Baby, bathwater. I've worked on trying (so far unsuccessfully) to push the FDA to approve things, and I can specify in more detail than I'd like about what's imperfect in that process. However, I've also been in the business of coming up with new interventions to things-which-ail-humans for 15 years now, and every project I'm terrified that my embeddedness in the project; my conviction that this was a good path to take (a conviction you really really need to persevere for long enough to get funding and all the rest of it, regardless of source) will turn out to be wrong and real harm will occur. And I rely on the infuriating business of getting IRB (ethics) approval and FDA approval and all the rest of it to help make sure I and my equally driven and obsessed collaborators haven't missed something. If you have a new take on responsible testing processes that aren't controlled by the same people who have really strong investments in the testing process continuing, I'd be curious to hear it.