Honors Gallery

Trap to Control Mosquitoes that Spread Dengue and Other Viruses

Award: Excellence in Technology Transfer

Year: 2021

Award Type: National

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed a patented, low-cost, and pesticide-free mosquito trap to monitor and control mosquito populations. The CDC’s industry partner, AP&G, commercialized the technology. A second licensee also distributes the CDC’s technology. 

Mosquitoes can spread deadly viruses — such as dengue, Zika, chikungunya, and yellow fever — that can cause significant outbreaks and disease. The World Health Organization reports that almost half of the world’s population is at risk for dengue and that there are up to 390 million dengue infections annually. Aedes species mosquitoes can transmit viruses through bites to people. They are found throughout tropical and subtropical countries around the world, including U.S. territories and the southern U.S.

 CDC researchers developed the autocidal gravid ovitrap (AGO), a simple-to-assemble and easy-to-maintain trap that targets female Aedes species mosquitoes looking for a place to lay eggs. The trap model stands 18 inches (45 centimeters) tall and is made from a 5-gallon (~18.9 liter) bucket. 

The AGO trap’s unique design lures mosquitoes by using water and an all-natural, organic hay attractant. Once inside the trap, adult mosquitoes get captured on a non-toxic, sticky adhesive placed inside a chamber within the trap so they cannot escape. Optionally, the trap may include a hydrogel to capture laid mosquito eggs, which are collected for mosquito population surveillance and testing for virus presence. CDC’s AGO technology has significant advantages: 100% non-toxic trap, inexpensive to manufacture and maintain, successfully field-tested in communities, proven to reduce mosquito populations and the viruses they spread, and currently in use to control the spread of Zika and dengue through Aedes mosquitoes. 

 CDC leveraged numerous technology transfer mechanisms in developing and commercializing the AGO trap technology. Researchers collaborated with partners, conducted field studies and authored/co-authored 20 publications. Inventors and staff promoted AGO traps via 38 scientific conferences and marketing. CDC’s Technology Transfer Office handled first patent applications, agreements and licensing. 

The World Health Organization reports that almost half of the world’s population is at risk for dengue and that there are up to 390 million dengue infections annually.

CDC’s team at NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Office (TTIPO) oversaw licensing and patenting for the CDC after October 2013. Staff initiated or facilitated 16 different agreements with interested parties, including a non-exclusive licensing agreement with AP&G signed in November 2016.

Partners at AP&G licensed, further developed and incorporated CDC’s technology into a commercialized product under the company’s Catchmaster® brand. AP&G entered the mosquito management industry with the CDC-developed non-toxic Ovi-CatchTM trap. AP&G sells the traps to pest management companies, consumers and property owners throughout the U.S. 

This effort furthers CDC’s mission to protect America from health and safety threats, both foreign and domestic. AGO traps have proven success in surveillance, mosquito control and disease reduction. Field trials in which AGO traps were installed in most homes in a community have shown that they reduce not only mosquito populations but also rates of infection. Partners continue to prevent mosquito-borne disease and improve lives for those in high-risk areas by deploying traps. Additional studies are underway. CDC seeks more commercial partners with the goal to distribute AGO traps worldwide.

Team Members:

Dr. Roberto Barrera, CDC NCEZID DVBD, Manuel Amador, CDC NCEZID DVBD, Dr. Andrew Mackay, Dr. Tara Kirby, CDC Team, Branch C at NIH NIAID TTIPO, Dr. Jeremiah Mitzelfelt, CDC Team, Branch C, NIH NIAID TTIPO, Dr. Patrick McCue, CDC Team, Branch C, NIH NIAID TTIPO, Ed Dolshun, AP&G, Dr. Stan Cope, AP&G, Naureen Iqbal, CDC TTO, Francisco (Paco) Candal, CDC TTO, Suzanne Seavello Shope, CDC TTO, and Lisa Marianni, CDC OTI

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