The mosquito is the deadliest animal in the world, being responsible for the death of more than 725,000 people every year in front of the 50,000 deaths caused by snakes or just 10 people who kill sharks. All the tools we can use to repel them, then, are few.
The last has to do with a new fabric, which is covered with graphene. And is that graphene sheets can block the signals that mosquitoes use to identify a possible source of blood food.
A new study by researchers at Brown University in the United States, which has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that multilayer graphene can provide a double defense against mosquito bites. Graphene also blocks the chemical signals that mosquitoes use to feel that a food source is nearby, which reduces your need to bite.
The researchers compared the number of bites that participants received on their bare skin, on the skin covered with gauze and on the skin covered by a film of graphene oxide sheathed in gauze. With graphene, the mosquitoes didn't even land on the skin patch, they just didn't seem to care. To confirm the idea of the chemical barrier, the researchers applied some human sweat on the outside of a graphene barrier, and it was then that the mosquitoes did come. As he explains Robert Hurt, Professor of the Brown School of Engineering and lead author of the study:
Mosquitoes are important vectors of diseases worldwide, and there is much interest in non-chemical protection against mosquito bites. We had been working on fabrics that incorporate graphene as a barrier against toxic chemicals, and we began to think what else the approach might be good for. We think that graphene could also provide protection against mosquito bites.
In conclusion, the study suggests that properly designed graphene coatings could be used to make protective clothing against mosquitoes.