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Killing bugs softly

EntoGenex Industries introduces new products to kill mosquitoes without harmful effects to humans or other organisms.

ENTOGENEX Industries Sdn Bhd, a company at the forefront of dengue and malaria control through the use of biotechnology, will be looking to expand its horizon this year with overseas ventures.

Malaysia-based EntoGenex made headlines last year for its Mousticide bio-larvicide product, which is essentially a “diet pill” for mosquitoes, that starves them to death without any harmful effects to humans or other organisms.

This year, the company, fresh from its latest product launch, plans to penetrate the African, Greater India and Asean markets with its products.

EntoGenex chairman Tunku Naquiyuddin Tuanku Ja’afar said the company is currently in talks with representatives from Ghana, Sri Lanka and Singapore to introduce the products in those markets.

“We also have companies in Europe expressing interest in our products, but we are taking it one step at the time,” said Tunku Naquiyuddin, who holds investments in diverse businesses covering biotechnology, healthcare, mining, manufacturing and power.

Tunku Naquiyuddin is also the chairman of Sino Hua-An International Bhd, the first Malaysian-China cross-border company listed on the Malaysian Stock Exchange, a committee member of the World Wide Fund for Nature (Malaysia) and a royal patron of the Earth Awards.

Even with its plans to expand into foreign markets, EntoGenex promises to remain faithful to its approach of controlling insects without the use of harmful chemicals.

“Our products rely on an unique plant-based ingredient known as EGX-101, a technology initially developed in the US.

“This technology is highly effective and non-toxic to humans. It is also biodegradable and is environmentally friendly,” Tunku Naquiyuddin said.

EGX-101 first came to light when it won first place in a US science fair.

It was then further developed locally with the help of universities, primarily Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, which houses over 3,000 mosquitoes for research purposes.

The formula is a patent-pending natural pest repellent technology based on ingredients that are found naturally in wild tomatoes.

The formula, that cost US$7mil (RM21.3mil) to develop, works by irritating certain receptors that insects possess and has a broad-spectrum efficacy on mosquitoes, cockroaches, ants, flies, bed bugs, ticks, and mites.

Due to its safety, EGX-101 is exempted from registration requirements under pesticide regulatory bodies in Malaysia and Singapore.

Tunku Naquiyuddin reveals that the company will be working with pest control companies in Singapore. Closer to home, EntoGenex has worked with Kuala Lumpur City Hall.

EntoGenex is also introducing Bio-D insect control products for household use, which effectively repels insects without poisons.

Bio-D products are available at most leading pharmacies, retail outlets and hypermarkets courtesy of their sole-distributor LF Asia (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd.

According to the World Health Organisation, Australia, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam reported more cases of dengue fever in 2012 than 2011.

Datuk Dr Zulkifli Ismail, a consultant paediatrician and paediatric cardiologist said that dengue is a viral infection that is transmitted by the female Aedes aegypti mosquito. People can contract dengue fever from a single bite of a striped Aedes mosquito that carries the virus.

Zulkifli added that dengue fever usually occurs in the tropical and sub-tropical areas of the world, mostly in urban and semi-urban areas.

“Although the Health Ministry is still testing out genetically modified Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and a dengue vaccine to combat the spread of this disease, the best prevention methods still lies in our own hands,” he stated.

“Aedes aegypti breeds primarily in man-made containers like earthenware jars, metal drums and water storage barrels, as well as flower pots and vases, discarded plastic food containers, used car tyres, and other items that collect rainwater, like pet and animal water containers.

“Use mosquito repellent sprays, and add appropriate insecticides, such as larvacide, to water containers to prevent mosquitoes from breeding,” he stressed.

Mosquitoes are found all over the world except for Antarctica.

Malaria which is transmitted via the mosquito is responsible for 300 to 500 million deaths per year.

The Health Ministry recently advised people affected by the recent floods in the states to organise programmes to get rid of collected water than can breed the Aedes mosquito which carries the dengue virus.

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