UK troops are being issued with natural insect repellent following studies by the Defence Science and Technology Lab (DSTL) showing that the active ingredient Citriodiol may protect against the SARS-CoV-2 virus (novel coronavirus).
British military personnel who have been working on at Covid-19 testing stations have been given Citriodiol-based mosquito spray to use in addition to hand-washing, as a way of providing “an additional layer” of protection against contracting coronavirus.
Porton Down-based DSTL tested the efficacy of Citriodiol-based product Mosi-guard on plastic and artificial skin earlier this year. It concluded: “One minute liquid suspension tests indicated that Mosi-guard Natural has anti-viral activity against SARS-CoV-2 England-2 isolate if mixed with the virus in the liquid phase. Additionally, viral studies on latex indicated that Mosi-guard Natural had antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2 England-2 isolate.”
The DSTL researchers say their work demonstrates “preliminary findings on the effectiveness of Citriodiol against COVID-19” and they are hopeful that it will “be used as a springboard for other organizations to expand and develop the research”.
Citriodiol is derived from the oil of Eucalyptus citriodora, or lemon eucalyptus, and is the active ingredient in a number of natural insect repellents.
Jacqueline Watson, managing director of Citrefine International Ltd, told Sky News that she would like government to support a formal testing programme. “What we can say is that we do feel there is a very good chance it could work against this virus but it does of course need to be thoroughly tested.”