We are a group of students currently in Sixth Form who thrive on making a contribution to global health management and disease eradication. We firmly believe young people globally are crucial to development and achievement of the UN Sustainability Development Goals. Our research and development is supervised by our GCSE Science teacher and our project has been made possible by organisations such as the Youth Grand Challenges, Kingston University Big Bang Fair, CREST Awards and Arctec at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
In February 2017, we decided to start researching ways that mosquito borne diseases can be reduced in addition to current methods in place. Whilst brainstorming, we realised that a lot of repellents on the market are used as an additional product to protect individuals from mosquito borne diseases and despite research showing the high repellent properties of plant extracts, most repellents were DEET based which posed a lot of disadvantages to both the environment and individuals. Globally malaria affects over 6 million children and babies and toddlers cannot get protection from repellents currently on the market due to safety reasons. Additionally, there is a high need for better education strategies and preventative measures that are more accessible to affected areas to increase effectiveness of the fight against mosquito borne diseases. So after much deliberation we decided that designing a range of body products that were multifunctional would be a better and much more effective way of minimising the chance of being bitten by mosquitoes. Our products include a basil infused moisturising body butter, body spray and sachets made from reused tea bags for clothes drawers to make clothes temporarily repellent. Not only are the ingredients organic, they are also indigenous to affected countries, ecologically beneficial and cost effective with a low carbon footprint. Our bench mark tests using A.Stephansi mosquitoes show 100% protective efficacy within the first 30 seconds of application and this result is highly promising for the products. We originally named our product MosquiNO but we decided to change the name to CuliciNO which is derived from the term Culicidae- the scientific name for mosquitoes. Users of our products won't need to buy a mosquito repellent and moisturiser as two separate products thus reducing cost and inconvenience caused by remembering to apply the products.
We firmly believe that vulnerable communities in low economically developed countries need methods of disease prevention that are low cost and effective and our goal is to incorporate teaching these communities to make their own repellents in their own homes into current programs. If global health is improved, there will be a reduction in poverty as more young people will survive to reach working age and thus contribute more to economic growth and research. Our repellent products will also give travellers another alternative to DEET based repellents whilst knowing that with every organic repellent they purchase, they are helping someone else in need and contributing to achieving sustainable development goals.
What we have achieved so far
We successfully managed to make 3 products, a body butter, body spray and sachets for clothes drawers. Our body butter and spray were sent for preliminary testing at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine who assisted us in our project and benchmark tests were carried out against one species of mosquito. Our project has been recognised as having huge potential on various platforms. We were crowned Runner up in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Youth Grand Challenges run by the British Science Association in December 2017and were crowned winners of the Intermediate Category Science at the UK's largest STEM Competition, The Big Bang Fair in Birmingham in March 2018. The judges had this to say about our project:
"It is an outstanding project which really makes you think young people will improve the world."
We have also been invited to and presented the project at several conferences and events including the Research in Schools conference at the Royal Institution and the Big Bang @ Sutton event in July 2018.
What we are fundraising for
In order for our product to become completely viable, we need to raise funds for extensive tests with a larger variety of mosquito species and carry out clinical trials in the field. Any excess funds raised from our crowdfunding will enable us to visit affected areas and help roll out educational strategies as well as set up support groups and platforms for families and individuals to enable them to stay up to date with mosquito borne disease prevention. We aim to work with organisations and charities in countries such as Zambia with established links to affected regions to get our message across. We will also work with UK schools that have exchange programs in affected countries to ensure that any such trips include a research and teaching aspect around mosquito borne diseases to the list of activities thus benefitting young individuals in the UK as well.
Your support will go a long way in helping us achieve our goal of increasing awareness regarding mosquito borne diseases and helping communities develop good practice methods regarding the importance of repellent applications and the various options they have to protect themselves.