Tom Kollars' Invention May Save Millions Of Lives: ProVector
The invention of ProVector-Bt could not be more timely. As rising temperatures worldwide result in greater numbers of parasites active for longer periods each year, mosquitoes and other disease transmitters are contributing to higher death rates from disease-carrying pests. This is especially true for malaria and dengue fever, now claiming 5 million and 50 million new victims a year respectively.
Tom Kollars, director of the Biodefense and Infectious Disease Laboratory at Georgia Southern's Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, has devoted the last ten years of his life to finding a solution to reduce these and other mosquito born illnesses, like West Nile disease. His inventions, the ProVector Bt and the ProVector M, have been tested in many tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world, and have proven to be highly effective at reducing mosquito populations in their immediate areas. In blind trials conducted at Walter Reed Army Institute of Overseas Research, the ProVector killed 50 to 100 percent of mosquitoes within just a few days.
The ProVector is a small plastic flower made of a high-impact plastic covered in quadrants with red, blue, green, and gold decals, employing the colors that attract different kinds of mosquitoes. Beneath the feeding screens in the petals of the flowers, the sweet artificial nectar attracts them further and when they ingest the nectar they take in a good dose of Bacillus thurengiensis (Bt) and then die. According to Georgia Southern University, this is the first success ever in getting mature mosquitoes to feed on Bt.
"We trick the mosquitoes into coming right to it and eating it," Kollars says of the Bt. "This is a very environmentally-friendly apparatus that uses a safe biopesticide, so it can be safely used in the home. No pesticides are sprayed into the environment."
To make the ProVector more environmentally friendly, the screens are designed so that only a mosquito's mouth parts can fit into the holes; therefore, any other insects or birds lured to the ProVector will not be able to access the nectar.
ProVector M, the second model of the ProVector, kills only the malaria parasite within the mosquito and not the mosquito, leaving the mosquito to carry out its ecological function without infecting humans.
The best news is that after 10 years, Dr. Kollars will see his now-patented invention manufactured and marketed by his licensee, Medical Infusions Technologies, Inc. this year. Good news for him and great news for the world. Let's hope he continues his research along this same path, reducing the impact of disease carriers on human and animal lives.