Aedes aegypti mosquitoes—those that transmit most of the arboviral infections that the world is least prepared to combat, including Zika — are largely non-responsive to the common approaches used to control mosquitoes and protect against mosquito bites, such as insecticide sprays and treated nets. To prevent infection, people need to consistently re-apply repellent, a practice that few regularly follow.
In an effort to better equip ourselves globally, USAID’s Bureau for Global Health issued a $30 million Grand Challenge calling upon the global innovator community to generate cutting-edge approaches to fighting the current Zika outbreak—and to strengthen the world’s ability to prevent, detect and respond to future infectious disease outbreaks.
From nearly 900 submissions, USAID selected 26 potentially game-changing solutions to be funded for accelerated development, testing and deployment. The projects cut across vector control, personal and household protection, vector and disease surveillance, diagnostics, community engagement, and unmanned aerial vehicles.