Scientists from Brown University (US) demonstrated that clothes lined with graphene-oxide (GO) could protect users from mosquito bites. According to a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), GO blocks chemical signals in human sweat that mosquitoes use to sense the proximity of blood. Tests on volunteers proved that the ultra-thin material is strong enough to work as a physical barrier and mosquitoes cannot bite through when the material is dry. Scientists are now studying a way of stabilizing GO so the material can also be resistant when wet.
According to the senior author of the study, Professor Robert Hurt, researchers were already working on fabrics with graphene to protect against toxic chemicals. Through this research, they began to think about what else this approach may be useful for. This discovery is another example of how innovation and new technologies, such as gene drive, can potentially help prevent the spread of malaria and other vector-borne diseases.