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Gates funds 'cow perfume' project to combat malaria

Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals. Commonly, the disease is transmitted by a bite from an infected female mosquito. Scientists are now looking into creating a perfume to confuse the mosquitoes and the research is being supported by Bill Gates.

Imagine knocking out one of the world's deadliest diseases with a perfume that smells like human beings, and is sprayed on cows.

That's what scientists in the US are hoping to do to malaria, a disease that infects more 207-million people each year and kills more than 620-thousand of them.

Agenor Mafra-Neto is the CEO of ISCA Technologies, a California based company that specialises in pest control. He's also the inventor of the cow perfume.

Mr Mafra-Neto says humans have a very distinct smell that is unlike any other animal. And malaria carrying mosquitoes are attracted to our smell.

By developing a human smell and spraying it on cows, he hopes the smell will confuse the mosquitoes and send them to bite cows instead.

But he says the cows will not contract malaria. "Cows are given a de-worming formulation in such high doses that the formulation also kills the mosquitoes that bite the cows," Mr Mafra-Neto said.

The scientist has received $100,000 from billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates to further develop the perfume.

It's hoped the perfume will benefit some of the world's poorest regions that have high rates of malarial infection. It will be tested in California and Kenya later this year.

Source: Bush Telegraph

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