The Bill Gates Foundation has funded yet another mosquito-related venture, with UC Riverside researchers developing an experimental set of new chemicals that aim to inhibit the carbon-dioxide receptors of mosquitoes and flies. The announcement comes after the Bill Gates Foundation has already admitted to funding the development of genetically modified self-sterilizing mosquitoes, and purchasing 500,000 shares of the biotech company Monsanto.
The Los Angeles Times reports:
The types of odor molecules work in three ways. The first set inhibits mosquitoes’ and flies’ carbon-dioxide receptors. The second set mimics carbon dioxide. The third set overstimulates carbon-dioxide-sensing neurons, making them unable to detect CO2 for several minutes.
Though the compounds haven’t yet been approved for use in humans, UC Riverside researchers think they might be used to create traps that could replace the bulky and expensive CO2-spewing models in use today.
“Odor molecules that mimic carbon dioxide activity … can lead to the development of small and inexpensive lures to trap mosquitoes — a great benefit, especially to developing countries,” said Anandasankar Ray, an assistant professor of entomology at UC Riverside, in a press release.
The research, which included wind-tunnel experiments and other tests, tested the compounds on three disease-carrying mosquitoes: Anopheles gambiae (which transits malaria), Aedes aegypti (dengue and yellow fever) and Culex quinquefasciatus (West Nile virus and filariasis, also known as elephantiasis).