The aedes aegypti mosquito is responsible for spreading the zika virus, as well as other diseases like dengue fever and chikungunya. Until recently, the virus was spreading at an alarming rate, but many communities finally have a way to fight back that might actually make a huge impact on the larvae of this deadly mosquito.
The leaves of the San Francisco plant are the source of this powerful extract. They were discovered to contain the poison by 17-year-old Jerouen Paul Lumabao, a Philippine resident who just knew there was a way to fight back against the disease. He researched the plant while finishing high school in Davao City, hoping to find a way to combat the mosquito.
He knew that many insecticides come from plant extracts, so he started to test ingredients in and around his community. That’s when he discovered this plant cultivated in the public gardens, and growing in the wild around town. The plant, due to its colorful leaves and low maintenance, has been used in gardens all around town to brighten spaces and add color.
The substances in the plant act as a poison that will kill the mosquito’s larvae, giving the people a fighting chance against the zika virus.
He made his findings public at the Intel science and engineering fair, along with 1,750 students from 75 countries.
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