Innovative Textile Development will Save Lives

Innovative Textile Development will Save Lives

PHoto illus. warfighters by US Navy
120628-O-ZZ999-011 MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII (June 28, 2012) New Zealand Army soldiers from Alpha Company clear buildings as part of the Military Operations Urban Training (MOUT). Alpha Company is hosted by the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, during the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2012 exercise. Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC exercise from Jun. 29 to Aug. 3, in and around the Hawaiian Islands. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2012 is the 23rd exercise in the series that began in 1971. (New Zealand Defense Force photo by LAC Amanda McErlich/Released)

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New bite-resistant clothing for both commercial and military uses will prevent contamination in diseases transmitted by mosquitos, such as Zika, Dengue fever, and yellow fever.

North Carolina State University researchers have created insecticide-free, mosquito-resistant clothing using textile materials they confirmed to be bite-proof in experiments with live mosquitoes. They developed the materials using a computational model of their own design, which describes the biting behavior of Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that carries viruses that cause human diseases.

Ultimately, the researchers reported in the journal Insects that they were able to prevent 100 percent of bites when a volunteer wore their clothing — a base layer undergarment and a combat shirt initially designed for the military — in a cage with 200 live, disease-free mosquitoes. 

The researchers think their computational model could be used more widely to develop clothing to reduce the transmission of diseases.

Researchers said they believe the materials could be effective against other mosquito species in addition to A. aegypti because of similarities in biology.

The researchers compared the fabrics’ ability to prevent bites and repel mosquitoes to fabrics treated with an insecticide. “The final garments that were produced were 100 percent bite-resistant,” said Michael Roe, William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor of Entomology at NC State. “Clothes that you wear every day can be made bite-resistant. Ultimately, the idea is to have a model that will cover all possible garments that person would ever want—both for the military as well as for private use.”

Vector Textiles, a startup company, has licensed the related patent rights and intends to make clothing for commercial sale in the United States. as reported by