Malaria, as we’ve discussed before, is a terrible mosquito-borne disease that kills over 600,000 people every year, yet it is both preventable and treatable. While health officials and non-profits like Malaria No More are helping to fight the battle against malaria, a Dallas tween is doing the same thing with a new invention.
David Cohen is a Texas based 12 year old who is a finalist in this year’s Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge for a robot that helps fight malaria.
Mosquitoes (whether they are carrying malaria or not) need water to breed. During their larval stage, they sit on the surface of the water to breathe and to continue the maturation process. Cohen’s robot stops them from further maturing by reaching them in this stage. Using a pump-jet system, the robot essentially drowns the mosquito by moving it away from the surface and trapping it under mesh.
Cohen first became aware of health issues that mosquitoes can cause after his sister had a staph infection after itching a mosquito bite.
Matched with his mentor Delong Langer-Anderson, Cohen began to look at how best to stop mosquito-borne illnesses from spreading. As Langer-Anderson explains: he “looked at the problem…in a different way. He asked ‘what if the mosquito was never born?’ …he’s never lost sight of the idea that if he can stop the mosquito from emerging from the larvae stage, he can prevent them from spreading disease.” Source.
While we’re not sure how Cohen’s robot will be used moving forward, we at Mosquito Squad are always happy to see people thinking up unique ways to decrease the spread of malaria and other mosquito-borne illnesses. Congrats David!
Mosquito Squad joined the fight against malaria several years ago through our partnership with Malaria No More. Malaria No More has made great strides in helping to end malaria deaths through its educational, prevention and treatment programs.
If you’d like us to help fight malaria, please donate now at SwatMalaria.net.