DARPA’s War to Repel Mosquitoes
What if you could engineer your skin to repel mosquitoes? Imagine having one of the toughest jobs in the world with enough danger, without the threat of mosquitoes. DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) is looking into how soldiers could wear another suit of camouflage to fight off these disease-spreading pests…their own skin!
On Friday the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced its ReVector program, which aims to diminish the olfactory attraction mosquitoes have to human skin — or even actively repel mosquitoes — “by engineering the skin microbiome to temporarily alter chemical production,” according to a statement.
Troops are deployed to parts of the world where the threat of mosquito-borne disease is of significant risk to their health. Although they may be equipped with clothing, repellent and bug nets, is that enough to keep them protected in already difficult circumstances.
In the age-old war against the pesky, disease-carrying mosquito, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is trying a new tactic. Rather than depend on bed nets, repellants or anti-malarial therapeutics to keep warfighters free from mosquitoes and the diseases they transmit, DARPA wants to temporarily modify the skin microbiome — the ecosystem of microorganism that live on the skin — to improve resiliency of military personnel to mosquitos.
DARPA is at war with mosquitoes and it looks like this latest development could lead to a victory.