With Zika spreading rapidly in various countries in South America, women and their infants are at increasing risk of exposure to the dangerous virus that have been associated with serious birth defects. In the past year, Maternova has been working on NovaVeil, a protective apparel solution that is specifically designed for expectant mothers that is both beautifully made and scientifically designed to offer serious protection.
The textile used to make the clothing is created with nanotechnology and binds an EPA-approved repellent to fabric on a molecular level. The result is a product that is safe for pregnant women, odorless, and can withstand up to 50 washes. Currently, the NovaVeil line offers maternity dresses, cardigans, scarves, and leggings. Starting in October 2016, in partnership with Americares, maternity shirts have been distributed to women for their feedback in some of the poorest areas of El Salvador. In the future, Maternova’s hope is to offer the NovaVeil line at a subsidized rate to Latin American distribution partners to protect some of the world’s most vulnerable women. The feedback from the first round of surveys was extremely positive.
Ours is not the first initiative to introduce clothing as a weapon against the wily mosqutio in a public health study. Insecticide-treated clothing have been found to significantly reduce malaria infection rates and indoor mosquito density in a randomized controlled trial done in Kenyan refugee camps. The study involved 198 refugees of Somali origin split into a treatment group and a comparison group. The treatment group had their own clothes that they wore on a daily basis and their bedding (sheets and blankets) treated with the insecticide permethrin while the comparison group had their clothing treated with plain water. During pre- and post-test, researchers laboratory-tested blood samples, determined indoor mosquito density, and administered questionnaires. Results showed that malaria infection rate was lower in the treatment group (38% of participants infected) compared to the comparison group (66% infected). The study was generally well-accepted by the community, with only one family from each group withdrawing by the end of the study because they did not want blood drawn. Furthermore, no side effects were observed or reported among the participants, and some parents even reported additional benefits, such as reduced bedbugs and body/head lice in children and fewer problems with sleep at night because they were no longer being bothered by mosquitos.
Studies have supported the use to insecticide-treated clothing and fabrics to prevent mosquito bites and reduce infection rates, and Maternova is taking it one step further. The company’s goal with the NovaVeil line is to offer clothing that not only protects, but also inspire confidence in the women that wear them.
Jean M. Bouquet, DO, is an Assistant Professor of Family Medicine and Co-Director of the Urban Underserved Track at the Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine. He is the founder of the Bouquet Speculum, an innovative and FDA-cleared medical device that helps to screen women for cervical cancer. Dr. Bouquet also started the Cure Cervical Cancer nonprofit. The following blog post was written by Dr. Bouquet about his journey to creating the Bouquet Speculum.
Dr. Daniel Kimani is a trained and licensed medical officer in Kenya, holding a Bachelor of Medicine & Surgery, and a post-graduate certificate on basic oncology training. Dr. Kimani is the founder of the Global Cancer Care and Research Institute, and is an expert in clinical colposcopy — a procedure to examine the cervix, vagina, and vulva.