Xeroshield announces development of new mosquito net
Insecticide-treated mosquito nets currently provide the most effective tool for malaria control. Long-lasting nets, in which insecticide is impregnated onto the fibre and released over time, represent the latest advance in this technology but have several drawbacks. Most important of these is the necessity of subjecting users to regular and prolonged exposure to neurotoxic chemicals, both through contact with the skin and inhalation. Although the compounds involved are relatively safe for human use, the technology is new and there is no long-term data on possible health problems arising from this intensity of exposure. Pregnant women and children under five years old are particularly susceptible and also constitute the groups at greatest risk from malaria. Second, the appearance of biochemical resistance mechanisms in mosquito populations means that this technology has a relatively limited shelf-life.
Thus truly sustainable control requires an economically priced technology whose efficacy is uncompromised by insecticide resistance and which can be used safely by as many people as possible. Rapid kill of mosquitoes can be replaced by functional mortality, in which insects touching the net are unable to feed thereafter and are not deflected towards unprotected individuals. These damaged mosquitoes are also more vulnerable to predators and parasites, succumbing within hours or days of contact rather than minutes. Incorporating the damage-causing agent into the mesh fabric dispenses with the need for regular re-treatment and ensures the textile remains permanently effective. Insecticide resistance mechanisms based on enzymatic detoxification become irrelevant and long-term human exposure to pesticide is eliminated.
Over the last 6 years we at Xeroshield have worked in partnership with the Nonwovens Innovation Research and Innovation Institute (NIRI), a spin out of the University of Leeds led by international textile technology expert Prof. Stephen Russell, to explore alternatives to conventional insecticides for bednet treatment, focussing on physical damage mechanisms rather than chemically-induced neurotoxicity. We have now developed a radical new textile that kills mosquitoes after they alight on the surface to take a bloodmeal. This patented textile is both long-lasting and harmless to humans or other non-target organisms. The mosquito itself modulates the amount of damage received, which increases with feeding intensity. We believe this technology represents a sustainable, environmentally friendly alternative for malaria control. We are now seeking investment that will allow us to test this technology under field conditions and take it on to the market. Given that no harmful chemicals are involved, no registration is required and the product could be made available to millions of people within a short time.
Global Environmental Challenges - Edinburgh University enlist help announces online postgraduate course 31/05/12
Bruce Alexander recently participated with Edinburgh University as a Student Academic Visitor in a pilot study for a new postgraduate online course in Global Environment Challenges. His perspective as a director of Xeroshield and those of other volunteers from a variety of academic backgrounds worldwide will be used to design the course, which will be set up this autumn. The course will deal with the environmental changes that our planet is currently undergoing, discussing how human actions have brought about these changes and what we can do to adapt to the problems we all face in the years ahead. Highly recommended! A link to the course organizers is provided below:
Global Environmental Challenges
8.4.2012: Robert the Bruce and his friend filling in a ticks and Lyme disease questionnaire at the Dalkeith Country Fair
Ticks and Lyme disease – Your help needed
Xeroshield is asking members of the public to take five minutes to complete a short online survey as part
of a major new scientific study about ticks and Lyme disease in Scotland.
Lyme borreliosis is a tick-borne illness which, without prompt treatment, can cause debilitating long-
term human health problems. Ticks are prevalent in the Scottish outdoors and attach themselves to the
skin of a host and feed on its blood. Infected ticks can transmit Lyme disease to their host during the
Designed to assess the potential market for an innovative device for removing ticks combined with a
laboratory service to test ticks for the Lyme disease parasite – both of which Xeroshield is currently
developing - the study is also expected to generate useful data about general awareness of ticks and
Lyme disease in Scotland.
Xeroshield is particularly keen to hear from people who spend lengthy periods of time outdoors for work
or leisure and are therefore at higher risk of exposure to tick bites and Lyme disease.
To find out more about this project and to complete the ticks and Lyme disease survey online,
please visit: xerolyme.wordpress.com or contact Cristina Ayala: Tel. 0131 200 6377; Email:
Brazilian visitor to Roslin
Xeroshield hosted a visit by Ashley Archibald of ACG Business Partners of Ribeiro
Preto, Brazil from 8-16 January 2012. The visit was arranged by Jayne Brookman
of KTN Biosciences who also visited the Roslin Biocentre on 12-13 January. During
his stay, we discussed possible commercial partnerships with Brazilian companies,
some of whom we will meet on a return visit to Brazil in a few weeks. Discussions
focused on our dengue control technology, but there is also scope for partnerships
to develop a novel treatment for ectoparasites of cattle. During the week Ashley
met with representatives of several other companies in the RBC and gave a
presentation on investment, licensing and collaboration opportunities in Brazil.
Despite his name, Ashley had not visited the UK before and the trip also allowed
him to discover a lot about his Scottish heritage.
Cristina Ayala Fieldwork in Medellin, Colombia
Cristina with PECET director, Dr. Ivan Dario Velez (on the right) and entomologist Leonardo Rocha
In June Cristina Ayala visited Medellin, Colombia to carry out fieldwork for her dissertation research on community participation in dengue control, towards here M.Sc. Degree in International Health at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.
The work involved carrying out a questionnaire survey, interviews and focus group discussions with residents of poor neighbourhoods affected by dengue on the mountainous slopes of this, the second city of Colombia. The collaboration of members of the PECET tropical research institute, University of Antioquia and public health authorities from the city of Medellin was invaluable. PECET is one of the leading research institutes in Colombia with an international reputation and scientific collaborations worldwide.
Cristina in one of the focus group meetings
Comunidad Paris (Bello) one of the neighbourhoods visited, taken from the cable cars that transport residents to the highest point.
As well as providing Cristina with material for her dissertation, the study will be invaluable to Xeroshield in development of its WaterWasp™ technology, to be provided to neighbourhoods such as Barrio Oriental.
Agri-Technology Innovation, Industry and Investment Workshop in Thailand
Bruce Alexander visited Bangkok, Thailand from March 7-11 2011 to attend the Agri-Technology Innovation, Industry and Investment Workshop. Hosted by the International Agri-Technology Centre and UK Trade & Investment., the purpose of the event was to introduce UK to the Thai market, one of the world's leading agricultural suppliers. The programme included a plenary session on Future Investment in Innovation and a partnering event, with presentations by Xeroshield and other SMEs and 1:1 meetings with Thai businesses.
Xeroshield currently has a number of projects relevant to the region, both in the fields of Agriculture and Public Health, The photograph shows a presentation being made to Bruce as a speaker by Dr Kanyawim Kiritan, Director of BIOTEC and Dr David Dent, CEO of Dent Associates Ltd., who chaired the event on behalf of UKTI.