The best mosquito repellent that money can't buy
When you think of who exactly would know the most about effective mosquito repellents, can you imagine anyone more qualified than soldiers who spend their days in the Amazon? And it's true. Apparently soldiers in Brazil, one of the countries with the highest known concentration of mosquitoes, have a secret weapon against the bloodsuckers.
It's called simply Repelente Gel, a name that needs no translation, and both soldiers and civilians swear by its mosquito-destroying superpowers. Unfortunately, it was developed exclusively by the Brazilian Army and they're not sharing either the gel or the recipe.
"The repellent had been developed over the course of 20 years and was tested in the laboratory and the field by the land forces across the whole country," the military said in a statement to The New York Times. "It showed excellent results in areas of major insect pest infestation, such as Amazon, Pantanal, Angola and Haiti."
But? "There is no plan for external commercialization," the statement said. Not even the Brazilian government was able to get their hands on the top-secret formulation when they asked the military for some to be used by pregnant civilian women. And now with the Olympics at the doorstep and Zika infections skyrocketing, officials have tried again.
Alas, "The army and all the country’s laboratories which we have consulted are not prepared to produce the volume of repellent we need immediately,” the health minister, Marcelo Castro, told the Times.
There is one tantalizing clue, however. The main ingredient is diethyltoluamide, or DEET, which is also the main ingredient in most commercial mosquito sprays — although the army remained mum on the concentration used or if additional ingredients were added to it.
Still, the fact that such a miracle repellent exists is kind of heartening and hopefully someone will be able to mass-produce it soon. In the meantime, at least we have Victoria's Secret perfume.