Armed Forces News

Scientists with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are working to develop a method to reduce attraction to mosquitoes, or repel them altogether. The ReVector program, underway at DARPA’s Biological Technologies Office, would change the way a person’s skin produces chemicals that attract the pests. If ultimately successful, ReVector could reduce incidences of malaria, dengue, chikungunya and other mosquito-borne illnesses that adversely affect readiness. Troops no longer would have to take harsh anti-malarial drugs, or carry repellants, clothing and bed nets as frequently. The DARPA plan would entail provision of something along the lines of a topical treatment that would last some two weeks before wearing off.
“DARPA wants to apply the tools of biological engineering to create a new protective approach that is optimized for troops in the field,” said Christian Sund, ReVector’s program manager. “Our end goal is a treatment that is simple to apply, low maintenance, and without undesirable side effects.”
The agency wants input from experts who could help further ReVector. During a planned Proposers Day on May 17, during which more information would be provided to interested researchers.