Environmentally Safe, First-in-Class Mosquito Sterilant

Dr. Flaminia Catteruccia from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has discovered a biopesticide that is capable of sterilizing mosquitoes while being safe for human and environmental health. Spraying pesticides is a common method to control outdoor biting mosquitoes. Unfortunately, these pesticides can be toxic to humans and harmful to the environment. Furthermore, recent evidence has suggested that insects are developing resistance and causing the pesticides to be less effective. As a result, there is an unmet need to develop solutions to control outdoor biting mosquitoes that are safe and effective.

Dr. Catteruccia has identified a biopesticide, a naturally occurring insect steroid hormone, which inhibits virgin female mosquitoes from mating, disrupts egg development in previously-mated female mosquitoes, and repels mosquitoes from biting. Biopesticides are inherently less toxic than conventional pesticides and are typically not harmful to neighboring benign and/or beneficial insect species (such as pollinators). The sterilant is the first in its class and has benefits over other outdoor biting mosquito technologies such as larvicides, which require identification and access to the mosquito breeding grounds and confer only temporary effects. This biopesticide can be used to help eradicate malaria transmission in developing nations, control the threat of other mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile virus, and manage pests at the home of the general consumer.

Intellectual Property Status: Patent(s) Pending