Dr. Fredros Okumu of the Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania has recently developed an innovative new device to attract and kill malaria-ridden mosquitoes. The device, which can be placed outside people’s homes, traps and poisons mosquitoes before they can even get indoors–making it even more efficient than bug nets and pest sprays that are currently in use.
The Ifakara research team has discovered that the best way to attract mosquitoes to the device is nothing other than the odor of smelly socks! The stench, say the scientists, attracts four times as many mosquitos as humans do.
Dr. Okumu has just received a grant, funded by Grand Challenges Canada and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, that will support testing of the new device. Dr. Peter A. Singer, the CEO of Grand Challenges Canada, applauds Dr. Okumu’s efforts. He states that the apparatus could save thousands of lives by helping eliminate malaria, which kills 800,000 people each year.
So before you get grossed out as you’re tossing your next load of stinky socks into the wash, think twice about how useful the smelly articles might be in the fight against malaria!