Date of release: Friday, July 24, 2015

 Professor Gabriella Gibson, left, working on the trap, with Dr Roch Dabiré, of the Burkina Faso Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Santé (IRSS), and Dr Frances Hawkes. 

A new mosquito trap developed by two University of Greenwich scientists to catch and kill the malaria-carrying insects is featured in a BBC television documentary this weekend.

Professor Gabriella Gibson and Dr Frances Hawkes, of the Natural Resources Institute (NRI), in the university's Faculty of Engineering & Science, designed the trap to help health workers control malaria across Africa.

Professor Gibson, a specialist in medical entomology, says: "Although tremendous progress has been made in reducing malaria deaths, two key challenges remain.

"Mosquitoes are increasingly resistant to the insecticides currently used in bed nets, which protect people when they sleep, and the insects may be changing their behaviour. They can certainly avoid being killed by the insecticide-treated bed nets by biting outdoors and earlier in the night – long before people are protected by their bed nets.

"Our trap is designed to act like a human decoy, drawing blood-seeking mosquitoes away from where people are living, working and sleeping. It both catches and kills the insects, reducing the threat of malaria locally, and enabling us to monitor the effectiveness of other novel control methods that are being tested."

The BBC documentary team filmed Professor Gibson and Dr Hawkes using state-of-the-art laboratory equipment at the university's Medway Campus to analyse the flight patterns of mosquitoes. They also filmed the scientists in Burkina Faso putting the trap into action.

The documentary, Living with Malaria, is part of the BBC's One World series. The programme will be broadcast on the BBC News Channel, and via the BBC iPlayer, from Saturday 25 July. See http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0070w71/broadcasts/upcoming for details.

Living with Malaria is also available to international audiences via BBC World News: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/n3csy4k9

Story by Public Relations

Caption: Professor Gabriella Gibson, left, working on the trap, with Dr Roch Dabiré, of the Burkina Faso Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Santé (IRSS), and Dr Frances Hawkes.