In 2011, halfway into a five-month backpacking trip along the Appalachian Trail, I was forced to pay an emergency visit to the hospital due to blurred vision, migraines, and severe fatigue. After running a series of tests, the doctors hypothesized that I was dehydrated, filled me with an intravenous saline solution, and sent me on my way. Ten days later, I would return to the hospital, this time the symptoms were even more severe. Additional testing would eventually reveal that I had contracted West Nile Virus.
For more than a year after completing my hike, I continued to battle WNV symptoms, which ranged anywhere from annoying to debilitating. Although I went into the trek knowing that mosquitos were an all-too-common problem, prevention options were either dangerous (i.e. DEET) or ineffective (all other repellants).
That’s why a new, non-toxic sticker that claims to make you “invisible to mosquitos” caught my attention.
The Kite Patch, a 1.5″ x 1.5″ sticker that attaches to your clothing, claims to release compounds that make humans undetectable to mosquitoes for up to 48 hours by disrupting a mosquito’s carbon dioxide neurons.
The Kite Patch hopes to combat a host of mosquito borne illnesses, most notably malaria, Dengue Fever, and West Nile virus. Although more than 90% of the 5-million deaths caused by malaria occur in sub-Saharan Africa, mosquito borne disease is beginning to have an increasingly larger impact in the United states. In 2012, the US saw more than 5,000 reported cases of West Nile virus (an increase of 697% from 2011), with over 5% of those resulting in death.
Though it may seem overly ambitious for something currently residing on Indiegogo, initial funding for the project comes from a series of reputable backers including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, U.S. National Institutes of Health, University of California Riverside, ieCrowd, USDA, and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. And their Indiegogo fundraiser? The Kite Patch surpassed their original $75,000 goal in only four days, while recently surpassing the next $500,000 benchmark, with more than a week remaining.
The technology, developed by Olfactor Laboratories, Inc.- subsidiary of ieCrowd- is the result of more than four years of research and three years of development work on a class of non-toxic compounds, all of which are approved for human consumption by the USFDA. ieCrowd has recently filed for three additional potentially game-changing patents to aid in the fight of mosquito borne illnesses including a larvacide used to control the growth of insect colonies, a power-free mosquito trapping system, and baits intended to deliver a toxic blow to local mosquito populations.
The anti-mosquito sticker is currently waiting to clear EPA registration and hopes to ship to US backers within a year. International purchases will require more time as the company must receive approval from respective governments prior to distribution.
To learn more about the Kite Patch, check out their video below.