Researchers in western Ethiopia say the smell from a live chicken could help protect humans from malarial mosquitoes. The scientists, from Ethiopia and Sweden, said that the mosquitoes tend to avoid chickens and other birds, and even avoided a volunteer who slept under a bed net with a live caged chicken nearby, BBC News reported.
The research, published in the Malaria Journal, found that the mosquitoes, which use their sense of smell to locate an animal to bite, are turned off by something in a chicken’s odor, BBC News reported.
A researcher involved in the study told BBC News that the compounds from the smell of the chicken can be extracted and work as a repellent. He said field trials are “in the pipeline.”
According to the United Nations, malaria killed nearly 400,000 people in 2015. While infection and death rates are declining, officials are still seeking ways to prevent the spread of the disease.