Photo - (From left) Dorothy Yap, Head of Mobile Apps at New Wave Communications; John Sung, Chairman, New Wave Communications; and Dr Hidayatul Fathi Othman, Associate Professor of Parasitology & Medical Entomology at the Faculty of Health Sciences, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.
Malaysian software firm New Wave Communications has launched Kil-Dengue, a mobile application that uses a sound frequency to repel disease-transmitting mosquitoes.
During the launch in Kuala Lumpur, New Wave Communications chairman John Sung said Kil-Dengue, which took three years to develop, has been tested by Malaysia's Institute for Medical Research and found to effectively repel more than 75 percent of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes (the main vector responsible for transmitting viruses that cause dengue).
While the use of sound as an insect repelling technology was not new, Sung said: "Our original intent was to adapt the existing technology available in Korea for the Malaysian market. However, when we found that a different sound wave is required to repel mosquitoes in Malaysia, we decided to develop and test it at the Institute for Medical Research to ensure that the right frequency is used to effectively repel dengue transmitting mosquitoes."
During the launch presentation, Dr Hidayatul Fathi Othman, associate professor of parasitology & medical entomology at the Faculty of Health Sciences, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, said Aedes vector mosquitoes are often found in local mosquito population and among these, Aedes aegypti make up to about 90 percent of this dengue-transmitting breed in the house.
Dr Hidayatul said Malaysia has different strains of mosquitoes and dengue scenarios. In 2014, the country saw a dramatic increase in the number of reported dengue cases, and the trend continues in the first quarter of 2015 with 32,535 reported cases and 101 deaths, representing a 37 percent increase in number of cases and more than double the fatality rate in the same period in 2014.
Increase in dengue cases
According to Malaysia's Ministry of Health, a total of 108,698 dengue cases were reported in 2014, exceeding the 100,000 mark for the first time and representing a 151 percent increase from 2013. The outbreaks throughout the year claimed a total of 215 lives.
"Aedes aegypti mosquitoes transmit dengue virus as they bite, but only fertilised female mosquitoes do so to obtain protein from human blood to feed the eggs in her body. As these female mosquitoes are already fertilised, they try to avoid mating with male mosquitoes," she said.
New Wave Communications head of mobile apps, Dorothy Yao, confirmed: "In accordance to Aedes aegypti female mosquito's behaviour, the application was developed to reproduce male mosquitoes flying frequencies to repel these female mosquitoes, and was tested to effectively repel more than 75 percent of this vector."
"Our frequency has a very low or inaudible volume to human ears. But it has the right pitch that effective repels the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes," she said, "Besides its proven effectiveness, the advantages of using a mosquito repellent app is its mobility, reliability and ease of use. It is easily accessible online and once downloaded, you can activate the frequency whenever and wherever you need it, even in places that you do not receive telecommunications signals; and the results are immediate."
Founded 2012, New Wave Telecommunications has made the Kil-Dengue mobile application available with a one-time subscription fee (US$2.99/ RM10) at the Apple AppStore and Google Play Store.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.