Our stories

Fighting malaria with the power of perfumery     

Did you know that mosquitoes are effectively a flying nose? 

That’s right – mosquitoes use their sense of smell to pick targets, and as far as they’re concerned, humans smell like a delicious meal. As a company committed to bringing progress to life, what can we do to keep these pesky pests away? 

The state of protection today 

As things currently stand, people can repel mosquitoes – and reduce their chances of contracting serious diseases like malaria – by using a bug spray like DEET or adding permethrin to clothes.  ​
But to get sustained protection, you have to add another step to your routine – which isn’t practical or affordable for many people around the world.  ​
That’s what why we are partnering in a joint research project with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. ​

The project in a nutshell 

The goal of this three-year research project is to add mosquito-repellent scents to everyday household objects. The idea is to provide people with a “halo effect” of protection – a long-lasting barrier that supplements anti-mosquito measures that are already available. ​
We’re currently focusing on bar soap and powdered laundry detergent, as this is where our human-centric design principles can make the biggest impact. But there’s the chance that we’ll add scents to body lotion and body cream as well.  ​
Human-centric design isn’t just about convenience, though. The final products also need to smell great! And that’s what we’re working on right now. Our product formulation expert and perfumers are currently looking for ways to make great-smelling, mosquito-repellent scents last all day.  

Shaping the future of malarial protection 

While this project is certainly challenging, we’re confident that we’ll find a way to improve access to mosquito protection – and do it in a way that doesn’t require people to do extra work or spend extra money.  ​
By keeping our eyes on the affordability and continuing to leverage our immense science and research capabilities, together we’ll be able to bring progress to life for billions of people worldwide – and take the bite out of the world’s deadliest animal. 

About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the project