The National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA) has successfully developed three mosquito repellent products from essential oil plants to effectively control residual malaria transmission occurring outdoors and before going to bed.
Malaria is still reported as a life-threatening disease in Rwanda just like in other parts of the tropical region.
It is caused by a parasite called Plasmodium transmitted to humans the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.
These mosquitoes are the main source of nuisance to human and vectors of various diseases including malaria, filariasis, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, and dengue fever.
To contribute to the national efforts to combat and eradicate malaria, NIRDA found it important to develop plant-based mosquito repellent products as one of the ways to prevent mosquito-human contact and to avert the malaria transmission.
“So far, three mosquito repellent products were developed: indoor spatial spray, applied to net spray and cosmetic cream spray all using the essential oils,” said Olivier Kamana, Head of Applied Research and Development and Foresight Incubation Department at NIRDA.
The exercise was concluded early in June this year.
The three products were extracted from Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus citriodora), Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) and Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) as active ingredients.
They were formulated in collaboration with a private company called Nice Dream Candles Ltd operating in Gasogi, Gasabo district, which is also planning to commercialize these products.
The products are totally natural and are in cream and spray forms (mosquito repellent cream, mosquito repellent indoor spatial spray, and applied-to-net mosquito repellent)
The quality and safety analysis was conducted by Rwanda Standards Board (RSB), the cytotoxicity tests were evaluated at the Institute of Molecular Biology and Medicine (IBMM) in Belgium.
The repellency efficacy, knock-down (KD) and mortality level were evaluated in collaboration with Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC).
The repellency was quantified by using human landing catching methods in experimental huts and on net materials using cones.
The latest report produced by NIRDA revealed that cream/pomade and indoor spatial spray products have significant repellency effect against wild mosquito species.
The cream product prevents human-mosquito contact at 77.4% against A. gambiae s.s Kisumu strain and 94% against the culex species.
The indoor spray was revealed to protect the human at 70% against A. gambie and 91.1% against the culex species.
The excito-repellent chemicals cause insects to make undirected movements that send them away from humans, according to the researchers.
According to the report, the two products (cream and indoor spray) proved to be very effective in terms of mosquito repellency and were recommended by Rwanda Standards Burau (RSB) to be developed for their wide distributions to the community for usage against transmission of mosquito-borne diseases, specifically malaria.
NIRDA considers this achievement as a significant contribution in the fight against malaria and other mosquito nuisance.
NIRDA intends to further improve these products support the formulation of a wide range of mosquito repellent products by using essential oils from other plants.
Over the past decade, Rwanda has made great progress in the fight against malaria.
The report of the World Health Organization puts Rwanda under the pockets of progress after recording 436,000 fewer Malaria cases in 2017 compared to 2016.
The Ministry of Health is still deploying mosquito control tools mainly relying on long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLINs) and indoor residual-spraying (IRS).
Malaria contingency plan 2016-2020 and malaria control guidelines, have both recommended the use of mosquito repellents.
NIRDA will soon sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Nice Dreams Candles for a wider production for the market.