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Local Inventor on a mission to reduce mosquito-borne disease in Africa

Local resident patents a highly effective, non-toxic mosquito repellent called NO MO. Its purpose: To reduce mosquito-borne diseases like malaria and dengue.

 San Anselmo, CA (November 20, 2017) – It is the poorest communities in Africa that are most affected by mosquito-borne disease. Until now, an affordable, effective repellent was not available to them. Sam Darling wanted to change that.

As a child in Central America where he was born, Sam saw the suffering of the poorest folk from poverty and disease.  The experience shaped him, and as a young man he realized two things: (1) how lucky he was to be born to a family that could feed him, and (2) how much less fortunate so many others were.  Those thoughts were with him in 1974, when he moved from California to Guatemala to work on behalf of indigenous people. It is there that the idea of making a great repellent was first conceived.

In Guatemala, he started an organic farm which to this day supplies the North American herb tea industry with organic lemongrass. “One day, when I was talking to some workers on the farm, I realized that many of them had suffered from malaria. Around the same time, when I was in the barn, I noticed that all the flying insects would disappear for half an hour when dried lemongrass was being baled. Seeing that triggered a memory of when I was a boy in Panama; when my mother put lemongrass oil on me to prevent mosquito bites.”

That’s when the idea of a repellent started to form, when the long journey of research and testing formulations began. Indeed, using revenue from his herb business to fund the development of NO MO, Sam worked countless hours learning about other repellents and researching possible ingredients.

“My goal was to make a repellent with great disease-reduction potential. For that, it had to be truly effective – and for a long period of time – against many kinds of mosquitos that transmit disease. It also had to be non-toxic and user friendly, so people could apply it daily without risking their health. And finally, it had to be low-cost, because the people most affected by malaria and dengue live in poor communities. Those were very difficult challenges, but with the angel of luck shining light on our path, we stumbled on a formulation that met all four criteria.”

NO MO repellent’s active ingredients are lemongrass oil and PMD (p-menthane-3,8-diol), a plant-derived molecule (pines, lemon eucalyptus, etc.) that smells similar to menthol and produces a sensation of coolness on the skin. With 8-10 hours of complete protection time against malaria vectors (anophelines), NO MO outperforms all repellents currently on the market, including 100% DEET.

In the end, a non-profit foundation was formed – the NO MO Foundation – to distribute the repellent below cost to poor communities in Africa. This effort is supported with revenue from Sam’s herb business and with contributions from the donor community. Sam has licensed global distribution rights (outside of Africa) to a US-based company, and future royalties will be used to support the foundation’s goals on the African continent.

The repellent has been gaining traction in Ghana since 2016. Registration and distribution of NO MO in Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda is planned for 2017. Evidence from many laboratory and field trials shows that, if distributed en masse, this repellent could cause a significant reduction of mosquito-borne diseases.

If you want to be part of reducing the misery caused by malaria and other mosquito borne diseases – if you want to contribute to healthy communities in Ghana and beyond – consider participating in the GO NO MO Crowdfunding Campaign, or donating directly through their website (www.nomofoundation.gives).

“We would be grateful for your support, and realize that together can we create positive change.”

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About NO MO Foundation:

The Foundation’s goal is to reduce mosquito-borne disease in the poorest communities of Africa by distributing, on a non-profit basis, a high-efficacy repellent lotion called NO MO. In fact, royalties from licensing the repellent patents and contributions from donors are currently funding the product’s distribution below cost to disease-endemic countries in Africa.

To learn more about the Foundation visit: www.nomofoundation.gives

Focus on malaria eradication dismisses the role of personal repellents

NO MO Foundation urges the public health community to see the disease reduction potential of repellents

San Anselmo, CA (November 20, 2016) – A small public health foundation aims to reduce mosquito-borne diseases in Africa. But the tool they developed to do that has been overlooked by the global public health community. That tool is a high efficacy, non-toxic repellent lotion called NO MO, and evidence from many laboratory and field trials shows that, if distributed en masse, this repellent could cause a significant reduction of mosquito-borne diseases like malaria and dengue.

Although the WHO has recommended repellents to travelers for years, many epidemiologists – some influenced by the Gates Foundation’s agenda of “total malaria elimination” – have excluded a role for such products in global malaria or dengue reduction efforts.

Indeed, the focus in the scientific community since 2007, when the Gates Foundation proclaimed that malaria eradication was a goal, has been on finding ‘magic bullets’ that would support that objective. For instance, billions have been invested in intervention strategies that favor biocides (for ITNs and IRS). However, evolutionary adaptation by parasites and vectors has rendered these biocides less effective over time, and R & D pipelines have difficulty keeping pace with that. Additionally, other methodologies under development, like transgenic mosquitoes or recombinant vaccines, will not be effectively deployable for years.

The NO MO Foundation has tried to encourage major funding institutions to look at research on their repellent’s disease reduction potential and to help with further field trials and distribution. But their responses, like that of the Senior Program Coordinator for Malaria at the Gates Foundation, have not been encouraging:

‘Although topical insect repellents can have a significant effect on malaria transmission, our current strategy at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation does not include them as an intervention that will be useful for malaria elimination. Our reasoning is that trials to date have not been able to achieve a situation where topical repellents sustainably provide community protection. Your product and the trials that you are undertaking may overcome that barrier and we hope that you make that significant achievement. In the meantime, we do not plan to invest directly in development of topical repellents as a stand-alone vector control intervention, nor in the distribution of topical repellents.’

This statement points to an unfortunate reality: the current bias of dominant funding institutions dictates which malaria intervention tools are acceptable and which are neglected. In fact, intervention choices and funded research have been strongly affected by an exclusive focus on eradication of malaria, and simple tools like the NO MO repellent are often dismissed and not funded. In that context, the NO MO Foundation asks an important question: “While we wait for malaria to be eliminated, by some tool that’s not yet on the horizon, should we not at the same time try improving public health where diseases like malaria and dengue cause severe suffering? Empowering disease-endemic communities to protect themselves with a highly effective repellent lotion would allow them to reduce the burden of serious disease right now without waiting for the promise of malaria eradication to materialize. In a short time, this could improve the lives of millions.”

Though one might question if it’s realistic, the eradication of malaria is nonetheless a noble goal. However, in the interim, public health leaders should not ignore interventions that could greatly suppress vector-borne diseases, rather than eliminate them. Simple tools, like NO MO repellent, could offer a powerful and sustainable means of reducing those diseases.

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About NO MO Foundation:

The Foundation’s goal is to reduce mosquito-borne disease in the poorest communities of Africa by distributing, on a non-profit basis, a high-efficacy repellent lotion called NO MO. In fact, royalties from licensing the repellent patents and contributions from donors are currently funding the product’s distribution below cost to disease-endemic countries in Africa.

To learn more about the Foundation visit: www.nomofoundation.gives

NO MO Repellent Lotion shields poor communities in Africa from disease

A highly effective repellent lotion, called NO MO, has the potential to reduce suffering in Africa by protecting people from mosquito-borne diseases, such as malaria and dengue.
San Anselmo, CA (December 2016) – It is the poorest communities in Africa that are most affected by mosquito-borne disease. Until now an affordable, effective repellent was not available to them.
The NO MO Foundation decided to change that reality by distributing NO MO – a non-toxic repellent with exceptional efficacy – to countries where diseases like malaria and dengue cause thousands of deaths and preventable suffering to millions.
The Challenge

Mosquito borne diseases like malaria and dengue kill hundreds of thousands of people every year, and disable many millions more. More than half of the world’s population is at risk of contracting such diseases, African children being most affected by these illnesses.

Current disease prevention methods are challenged. Drug and insecticide resistance among mosquitos is an increasing threat to the most commonly used protection aids, such as pesticide treated bed nets and indoor residual spraying. Apart form yellow fever, no effective vaccines for mosquito borne diseases are currently available.

NO MO repellent

Most repellents have limitations that diminish their effectiveness against mosquito-borne disease.

But NO MO’s unique formulation has overcome such constraints, making this repellent a powerful tool for the reduction of mosquito-transmitted infections.

Here is why:

(1) High Efficacy: NO MO has demonstrated Complete Protection Time (CPT) of 8 to 10 hours against the most important disease vectors.  These include Anopheles gambiae (a vector for malaria) and Aedes aegypti (a vector for dengue, yellow fever and Zika).

(2) Low cost: Made with off-the-shelf ingredients this repellent can be produced for the lowest cost, per hour of Complete Protection Time, of any repellent currently manufactured (daily use for 1 month for a family of 4 = $6.50 in Ghana).

(3) High user acceptance: The pleasant smell and feel, as well as the elimination of bites makes this repellent a thought after commodity in places where the airspace is filled with biting insects.

A fisherman from Peruvian Amazon field trial expresses this well: “No one has seen a repellent here before, but when neighboring villagers (not in the study) saw its effect on the nuisance bugs that drive us crazy, they wanted to get some, too.”

(4) Non-Toxic: Unlike DEET, NO MO uses non-toxic ingredients and is safe to use for pregnant women and children. Its active ingredients are lemongrass oil and Para-menthane-3,8 diol (PMD), which is a plant derived molecule (pines, lemon eucalyptus etc.)

Since January 2016 the repellent has been distributed in Ghana by the NO MO Foundation and sales are going well. David Tenobi, sales officer, Precision DX, Ghana “I have sold many health commodities in my career as a salesman. I’ve never experienced this level of positive feedback from consumers. Without prompting, customers willingly spread the news of the effectiveness of NO MO. It’s amazing!”

The foundation’s plan is to distribute the repellent below cost in disease endemic countries in Africa. Registration and distribution of the repellent in Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda is planned for 2017. If distributed en masse, NO MO could cause a significant reduction of mosquito-borne diseases and reduce a tremendous of suffering in endemic countries.

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About NO MO Foundation:

The Foundation’s goal is to reduce mosquito-borne disease in the poorest communities of Africa by distributing, on a non-profit basis, a high-efficacy repellent lotion called NO MO. In fact, royalties from licensing the repellent patents and contributions from donors are currently funding the product’s distribution below cost to disease-endemic countries in Africa.

To learn more about the Foundation visit: www.nomofoundation.gives

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