Field-Adapted Spot Test for Evaluating Materials Treated with Permethrin Insect Repellent

Military uniforms and mosquito nets are treated with permethrin, a repellent and insecticide used for personal protection against biting flies, mosquitoes, and other disease-carrying insects. Vector-borne diseases such as malaria, leishmaniasis (a parasitic infection spread by sandflies), Zika virus, West Nile virus, Lyme disease, and more can be diminished if treated nets or clothing containing the proper amount of permethrin are utilized. Washing and wear depletes the insecticide on the material, eventually rendering it ineffective. Currently, there are no commercially available colorimetric (color-changing) tests available to gauge the amount of permethrin left in fabrics after use and repeated washes. CDC researchers developed a rapid and simple technique using a reagent to quantify the amount of permethrin in the treated fabric. The low cost colorimetric spot test yields color intensity proportional to the permethrin concentration levels and has been adapted into a prototype for field testing. The technology provides a rapid means to evaluate permethrin-treated materials, such as military uniforms, outdoor gear, mosquito nets, and curtains.

Potential Commercial Applications: Competitive Advantages:
  • Kits containing spot test for military personnel operating in the field
  • Kits can be available for use in programs aimed to reduce the spread of diseases caused by insect bites such as malaria or Lyme disease
  • Kits can be made available to frequent outdoorsmen/women (e.g., hikers, campers, and hunters) who use permethrin-treated clothing, tents, camping gear, etc.
  • First to market potential – currently, there are no commercially-available colorimetric assays for permethrin although they are available for other synthetic pyrethroids (insecticides) such as deltamethrin
  • Low-cost kit is ideal for field use
  • Spot tests are rapid and easy to use
  • The kit can be adapted to provide an indication by color intensity of whether the material needs to be retreated or discarded

Development Stage:


Michael Green (CDC)  ➽ more inventions...

Intellectual Property:
PCT Pat: 10,598,643 issued 2020-03-24
US Application No. 62/174,852 filed on 2015-06-12
US Application No. 15/735,800 filed on 2017-12-12

Collaboration Opportunity:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is seeking statements of capability or interest from parties interested in collaborative research to further develop, evaluate or commercialize the field-adapted spot test for evaluating materials treated with permethrin insect repellent. For collaboration opportunities, please contact Tara Kirby, Ph.D. at

Licensing Contact:
Jeremiah Mitzelfelt,
Phone: 301-443-8518

OTT Reference No: E-085-2015-0
Updated: Jul 19, 2016