A Thai ad agency has partnered with chemical companies to develop a new way to prevent mosquitos
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Mosquito-borne illnesses, such as malaria and dengue fever, cause millions of deaths every year. So, when marketing agency BBDO Bangkok was approached to help raise awareness of mosquito prevention in the slums of Bangkok, the company decided to do something different. Instead of creating ads, they devised a way to eliminate the mosquitoes themselves. Working with SCG Chemicals and Institut Pastuer, BBDO developed The Nano Shoes – a way to get mosquitoes themselves to deliver a chemical that kills mosquito larvae.
The Nano Shoes uses BTI larvicide, which is a synthetic, naturally-occurring bacterium that kills mosquito larvae. BTI has been in use for many years, but it usually requires a labor-intensive distribution. This leaves many breeding sites out of reach. BBDO came up with the idea to re-engineer the larvacide with nano particles to give it a negative charge. This causes the larvacide to attach to the mosquitoes’ legs and reach their breeding sites. As a result, the insecticide deposits in the water and stops mosquito larvae from maturing into adult mosquitoes.
Female mosquitoes can lay hundreds eggs across several different breeding sites. This means that a single mosquito with The Nano Shoe larvacide can potentially stop 1,000s of larvae from maturing. According to Suthisak Sucharittanonta, chairman and chief creative officer of BBDO Bangkok, “Many individuals in the communities we are targeting cannot even afford preventive measures … So for us to be able to reduce mosquito density in these areas means that we will also reduce their risk of getting sick.” The Nano Shoes joins other low-cost health innovations, such as a bio-sensitive tattoo that monitors health and an insulin kit designed specially for children. What other ways might there be to improve health without spending a lot of money?