New research suggests that the bacteria living on our skin could play a role in warding off mosquitoes. Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which are known to spread infections such as dengue, may be put off by certain odors produced by the bacteria on our skin. This finding opens up the possibility of developing a mosquito repellent spray that alters the skin microbiome to contain more of these bacteria.
Currently, synthetic repellents like DEET are commonly used to prevent mosquito bites. However, these repellents tend to wear off after a few hours and can sometimes cause skin irritation. The discovery that bacteria-produced odors can repel mosquitoes may offer a more long-lasting and potentially safer alternative.
The study conducted by researchers at New Scientist involved collecting samples of bacteria from the skin of individuals who were attractive or unattractive to mosquitoes. They found that individuals who were less attractive to mosquitoes had a higher abundance of certain bacteria on their skin. By identifying these bacteria and understanding the specific odors they produce, scientists hope to develop a spray that can be applied to the skin to repel mosquitoes.
This research has the potential to greatly impact public health, particularly in areas where mosquito-borne diseases are prevalent. By altering the skin microbiome to contain more of these mosquito-repelling bacteria, individuals may be able to reduce their risk of mosquito bites and the diseases they carry.
It is important to note that further research is needed to fully understand the relationship between the skin microbiome and mosquito attraction. Additionally, any potential mosquito repellent spray developed from this research would need to undergo rigorous testing to ensure its safety and effectiveness.
Overall, this study provides intriguing insights into the role of bacteria on our skin in repelling mosquitoes. By harnessing this knowledge, scientists may be able to develop more effective and long-lasting mosquito repellents in the future.