MR-08 INSECT REPELLENT PROGRAM
WHO estimates that 40 percent of the world’s population, especially in the world’s poorest countries in sub-tropical and tropical regions, is threatened by malaria. Two million die from it, most of them children under the age of five.
Other mosquito-borne diseases plaguing the world today are dengue fever, which infects 50 million every year, and causes deaths among five percent of victims; and yellow fever, which infects 200,000 people and kills more than 30,000 worldwide. The West Nile virus, carried by the mosquito species Culex pipiens, causes high fevers, neurological problems and even death. This virus killed 284 people in the United States in 2002.
The malaria parasite has proven to be insidious, managing to mutate and resist drugs and insecticides created to fight it. Scientists engaged in discovering a cure for malaria admit that it may be impossible to create a vaccine that provides total protection. But they hold out hope that at least a vaccine that can accelerate the ability of humans to develop immunity against the fast-changing parasite can be realized. “If you can reduce blood parasite levels by 20 percent, that will translate into reductions in mortality and improved health,” Ross Coppel, a malariologist and vaccine researcher with Monash University in Melbourne told New Scientist magazine (“Endgame”, New Scientist, 5 July 2003 issue).
Until then, prevention – whether through improved sanitation and hygiene practices, the control of breeding grounds for vector mosquitoes, the use of insecticide-treated nets, or the application of mosquito repellents – remain the best option for combating transmission of these mosquito-borne diseases.
In collaboration with research institutions worldwide, Poseidon have been conducting research of developing improved materials from natural sources to prevent mosquitoes from biting.
Initial laboratory screening of Poseidon’s chemical compound, MR-08, have revealed that the active ingredient performed better than most products containing DEET, IR3535 or Citronella. The protection time (the time from application of the repellent to the time until the first bite) of Poseidon’s product when incorporated in a cosmetic lotion base at 5% (w/w), was approximately 300 minutes, similar to the performance of SC Johnson’s OFF! Deep Woods® repellent, which contains 23.8 percent DEET.
Recent studies also demonstrated that Poseidon’s repellent technology could be useful to other nuisance insect species, such as ants. When a surface is coated with MR-08, Poseidon also has demonstrated that a single application of MR-08 is effective in preventing infestation by red ants (Pharaoh ants, Monomonium pharaonis).
The active ingredient in MR-08 is menthol propyleneglycol carbonate, a FEMA GRAS (generally regarded as safe by the US Food and Drug Administration) chemical in current use as a food ingredient primarily as a cooling agent in toothpastes, chewing gums and cosmetic products. As a nontoxic, safe product for human consumption, the use of this material in insect control opens new market opportunities where insect control is essential and where contact with human skin and food items are involved.
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