Your Body Makes Its Own Mosquito Repellent

Cloaking compounds found on skin could be used to combat bites, disease

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 10, 2013 11:40 AM CDT

(Newser) – Bad news for bug spray is good news for just about everyone else: Scientists have discovered a mosquito repellent that makes humans pretty much invisible to the pesky blood suckers—and your body makes it on its own. When used in larger quantities, some 24 "cloaking compounds" found on human skin block a mosquito's ability to smell you, the CBC reports, and according to the BBC, the find could be a huge step forward in disease prevention. "Repellents have been the mainstay for preventing mosquito bites," said one author, but "if a mosquito can't sense that dinner is ready, there will be no buzzing, no landing, and no bite."

The team sprayed a range of smells that make up a person's scent onto one side of a cage to find which ones mosquitoes, known to carry malaria and the West Nile virus, weren't so fond of. "If you put your hand in a cage of mosquitoes where we have released some of these inhibitors, almost all just sit on the back wall and don't even recognize that the hand is in there," the author said, adding the compounds could be used in cosmetics or lotions to combat disease risks. The compounds' prevalence in humans may also help explain why some get bit more than others, the CBC reports. (Click to see what else makes you vulnerable.)

A mosquito repellent that makes you invisible to the pests may soon be on its way, and you have your body to thank.
A mosquito repellent that makes you invisible to the pests may soon be on its way, and you have your body to thank.   (PRNewsFoto/Orkin, LLC)
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