The aim of this research program is to find an orally active insect repellent. By carefully screening drugs at random—a formidable task whose success depends on chance rather than knowledge—such an agent could hopefully be found. We have chosen to look instead to nature for a solution of this problem. We assume that human and animal skin contains factors attractive to mosquitoes. Knowledge of these attractant factors should lead to methods of interruption as the basis of an ideal repellent. This report reviews our efforts to measure the relative attractiveness of individuals and identify the responsible agents.
Search for the Unattractive Man
Folklore indicates that some humans are never bitten by mosquitoes. In casual discussion, several lay and professional colleagues have informed us that they know of at least one such person. One must be certain that this is not lack of skin reactivity to the bite. Whenever possible, we
Maibach HI, Skinner WA, Strauss WG, Khan AA. Factors That Attract and Repel Mosquitoes in Human Skin. JAMA. 1966;196(3):263-266. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100160113032