What was at the top of your summer shopping list … insect repellent?
Well, Mark Self has some news for you.
“You don’t need chemicals to protect yourself from insects,” he says.
Self is the president and CEO of Vector Textiles, a company developed from science being performed at North Carolina State University. Vector is one of 170 start-ups due to NC State science that have earned 1,500 patents that have lead to 600 products in the marketplace. Their new mosquito-resistant fabric is one of the latest.
“The fabric is 98% mosquito resistant. So, it’s not 100%, but it’s close,” says Self. “It’s perfect for outdoor activities, like hunting, outdoor athletic activities.”
Which is quite a relief to many Americans but in other parts of the world, it will quite literally be a life-saver. Self points out that mosquitos – and the diseases they transmit through their bites – are the number one killer of humans. And traditional sprays aren’t enough to prevent that.
“The sprays that chemically treat your skin keeps them away from that part of your body and then they find another part that’s untreated,” says Self. And the constant applications simply aren’t practical. “I think either the CDC or the WHO recommends 10 to 12 applications of DEET a day to truly protect yourself. Who does that? Nobody does that.”
So, NC State combined the work of scientists if five fields: biomedical physics, polymer science, vector science, entomology and mathematics to create a new fabric that doesn’t need chemicals. It prevents almost all mosquito bites through the patented way the fabric is woven.
“There are parts of your body that are uniquely attractive to mosquitos. So, it’s basically, think of a lightweight fabric that is impervious to mosquitos’ proboscis,” says Self.
See the fabric in this edition of the Buckley Report.