The PROVECTOR will be designed to last about a year before its artificial petals need to be replaced. The product's lifespan will depend upon the mosquito population in a particular area and the amount of chemicals that they ingest.
Another dangerous mosquito-borne disease that Kollars hopes to stop is dengue fever, a disease in tropical areas that can cause headache, rash, achy joints and, in some cases—mostly in very young children—can be fatal if the victim goes into shock. "Our goal is also to develop the technology," Kollars says, "and then transfer that knowledge to help developing countries so they can produce them."
MIT Holding says it will cost about $3.7 million to conduct the next round of product development and testing, which will include trying out PROVECTOR on mosquitoes in rural Georgia come spring and in the Florida Everglades next summer. "We hope to have received some funding by next fall for overseas trials," Kollars adds. He says his team is testing four different prototypes of PROVECTOR to come up with the most effective mix of color and chemicals—not to mention, disposable petals that are biodegradable.
"PROVECTOR alone isn't the answer," Kollars acknowledges, "but it will interdict at a different stage than other treatments for malaria and other diseases. I've seen kids dying of malaria; it behooves those of us who can do something to do something."