RALEIGH, N.C. — According to the World Mosquito Program, nearly 700 million people are struck with mosquito borne illnesses each year.
What You Need To Know
N.C. State University researches created mosquito-resistant clothing
They say their fabric is 100% bite proof and insecticide free
Mosquito bites cause more than 1 million deaths each year
The bites from those insects cause more than 1 million deaths each year, but a group of researches from N.C. State University have come up with a groundbreaking solution.
They've created insecticide free mosquito-resistant clothing that is 100% bite proof.
“Let's start where it all begins. So, one of my job duties is taking care of the insectary. This is where we raise and rear all the mosquitoes," Grayson Cave, an N.C. State grad student, said.
He cares for hundreds of mosquitoes, from their infancy to adulthood, inside the university’s entomology building.
This way, he and other researches can be certain the insects are disease free before they’re released for testing.
“We'll do a test in here, so this is our walk-in cage," Cave said.
Cave said a participant will enter a cage-like room before 200 mosquitoes are released on the subject.
But don’t worry, they’re protected.
Those participants are given mosquito-resistant clothing made inside N.C. State's knitting lab.
"The machine is already loaded with the program, so it knows exactly what it's gonna do," Elizabeth Kirkwood said.
Kirkwood, an N.C. State College of Textiles student, showed Spectrum News 1 a sophisticated garment machine that makes the clothing.
All Kirkwood has to do is press a few buttons and let the machine do the rest.
“You can see the yarn going through all the tensioning devices, and so, there’s like a pretty advanced computerized system to control the amount of yarn going through so you have a very even product," Kirkwood said.
Kirkwood said the finished product is a thick fabric garment with tiny pore sizes.
N.C. State researches said that combination results in material that is 100% mosquito bite proof.
So far, they’ve developed three types of garments.
They include military, regular long-sleeve t-shirts and baby onesies.
But how comfortable is the fabric?
“This is our thermal, sweating mannequin," Shawn Deaton said.
Deaton works for the school's Textile and Protection Comfort Center.
Inside, researchers dress a tech-advanced mannequin with the mosquito-resistant clothing before putting it in a freezing chamber and analyzing factors like body temperature.
“Depending on how hot he is, he basically either starts to sweat or in the cases of cold environment, he can't actually shiver but he can similar the shivering mechanism by producing more heat to the skin of the body," Deaton said.
Making this mosquito-resistant clothing brought together some of N.C. State's smartest minds — a true team effort, for a product that could change the world.
“This is a multi-departmental, multi-person endeavor, and everyone is bringing amazing talents and skills and ideas to it," Cave said.
Some of the researches behind the mosquito-resistant clothing have created a start up company called "Vector Textiles."
Their hope is to commercialize their product.