Anti-mosquito paint offers hope

Ipoh city council workers carry out fogging in Taman Pakatan Bercham in light of the rising dengue cases. ― Malay Mail pic
Ipoh city council workers carry out fogging in Taman Pakatan Bercham in light of the rising dengue cases. ― Malay Mail pic

PETALING JAYA, March 26 — It has taken 13 years but the Institute for Medical Research (IMR) has now come up with the final formula for an anti-mosquito paint to fight dengue.

Project head Dr Lee Han Lim said the paint would be the first anti-mosquito paint in the market which could kill Aedes mosquitoes upon contact.

“The paint formula has been incorporated with contact insecticide to kill mosquitoes. The previous formula produced in Malaysia only repelled them,” he said.

Last December, Kansai paint launched an anti-mosquito repellent paint which works by disrupting the insects’ nervous system.

IMR, a research centre under the Health Ministry, started working on the paint since 2002 and met various challenges in coming up with the final formula.

“We had to find insecticides compatible with the paint,” he added. 

“Then, we had to make sure the insecticide could still kill insects after mixing the paint. We also had to figure out how to test the paint’s effectiveness.”

Finally, a method was devised to test it — by painting the formula on cement and wood panels and fixed cones to put in the insects for 30 minutes.

“After 30 minutes, the insects were transferred into paper cups and kept for 24 hours. Among the insects tested were Aedes aegypti, Aedes albopictus and Musca domestica (housefly),” he said.

“We finally arrived at the current formula after the tests showed a rapid knock-down within 10 minutes and when we found out there was a high number of dead mosquitoes after 24 hours.”

Dr Lee, who is also IMR medical entomology unit head, said the goal was to find an effective solution and a product that could help control mosquitoes and other pests. 

However, Dr Lee said the paint was only another tool to fight dengue and not a one-size-fits-all solution.

“People still have to take preventive measures such as clearing their drains and other breeding grounds. The battle against dengue requires a multi-pronged approach,” he said. 

IMR has patented the ‘“household insecticidal emulsion paint formulation”, originally called Painticide and is collaborating with a local paint company to produce and commercialise the paint. The name and cost, have yet to be finalised. 

“The paint may cost more than normal paint but it will still be affordable,” he said. 

The paint’s active ingredient (deltamethrin) was previously used as a residual wall spray to control malaria in several countries including Malaysia.

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