Agency picks 21 of 900 ideas from around the world
A research center in Tanzania will develop inexpensive sandals treated to ward off mosquito bites. Investigators at Johns Hopkins will create a human-scented trap to lure mosquitoes. In Sao Paolo, Brazil, inventors will make an “intelligent trap” for mosquitoes to improve Zika surveillance. A San Francisco company will build a citizen-led disease-risk mapping system.
These are some of the answers to a challenge presented in April by the United States Agency for International Development inviting scientists, researchers and inventors worldwide to come up with measures to fight the spread of Zika. The selected entries will receive support for their projects from a $30 million dollar challenge fund and so far include four innovations to improve vector control, five for personal protection, five for vector surveillance, two community engagement strategies, one disease surveillance system and the development of four rapid diagnostics — three of which of which will be designed to produce rapid, point-of-care results.
The announcement of the first set of awardees follows news of the first mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission in the continental United States with at least 21 infections acquired in one small Miami neighborhood. As of August 3, 65 countries had reported evidence of mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission since 2015, 11 have reported evidence of sexual transmission of the virus, and 14 countries and territories had reported microcephaly and other neurological defects associated with the virus in infants and fetuses.
For more information on the Zika virus and its spread, the IDSA Global Health Zika briefing paper has been recently updated and can be found here.