DRDO mosquito repellent launched for commercial use (Lead, superseding correcting name in para 4)

February 14th, 2011 - 10:04 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 14 (IANS) A insect repellent that keeps Indian soldiers safe from mosquito bites in far-flung interiors of Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast is now commercially available for the general public. The product, a spin-off from military research, was Monday launched here as a commercial product by India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in association with private firm Jyothy Laboratories Limited.

Developed by the DRDO’s Gwalior-based lab Defence Research and Development Establishment (DRDE), the multi-insect repellent is based on the diethyl phenyl acetamide (Depa) formulation and is meant primarily for Indian Army personnel posted in forward areas.

“It is basically an outdoor insect-repellent unlike several commercially available indoor mosquito repellents. It is not meant to kill the mosquito, but to keep it away from the person using the repellent,” Prahlada, DRDO chief controller of research and development (Aeronautics and Services Interactions), said here at the launch function.

Jyothy Laboratories will market the repellent in the form of a wet wipe, Maxo Safe and Soft, priced at Rs.3 a pack and a cream, Maxo Military, available for Rs.36. The ‘A’ grade mosquito repellent is said to provide shield to the users for about six to eight hours.

“These repellent wipes can be used for personal protection against mosquitoes and other blood-sucking insects. These repellent wipes are first of their kind introduced by any company in the market,” Jyothy Laboratories chairman and managing director M.P. Ramchandran said.

Produced under licence from the DRDO, Jyothy Laboratories obtained the permits for commercial exploitation of the Depa formulation under the DRDO-FICCI accelerated technology assessment and commercialisation programme for utilising the defence research spin-off for the benefit of the commoner.

The DRDE, a World Health Organisation (WHO)-approved lab, began research in 1983 to find a solution to the problems faced by soldiers, who were exposed to mosquitoes, leaches and other blood-sucking insects in forest areas.

After two decades of research, the lab developed the new molecule and after extensive studies on toxicology, safety and bio-efficacy of Depa, it was introduced for soldiers six years ago.

Though the DRDO repellent was the first product to be commercially exploited for civilian use, there were eight more research productions ready for commercial use in the near future, Prahlada said. Next to be launched would be biodegradable plastic.

“Plastic is being slammed as non-degradable. Our research has evolved a biodegradable plastic, which will soon be available for commercial use,” he added.

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