J Med Entomol. 2021 Jul 16;58(4):1826-1838. doi: 10.1093/jme/tjab050.
European guidelines for testing attractant and repellent efficacy (i.e., Product type 19 [PT19]) have been in revision since 2017. A key topic of discussion is the current approach to evaluating topical repellents. The European Chemical Agency has stated field testing should be avoided because of mosquito-borne disease risks. However, the most common laboratory method, the arm-in-cage (AIC) test, may limit the reliable extrapolation of lab results to field conditions. This study’s main goal was to assess alternative laboratory methods for evaluating topical mosquito repellents that use mosquito landing rates more representative of those in the field. The study took place at three European testing labs using 30 study participants per test and the mosquito, Aedes albopictus (Skuse, 1894, Diptera: Culicidae). In phase 1, a conventional AIC test and a sleeved AIC test were performed. Respectively, the arm area exposed was 600 and 100 cm2, and cage volume was 0.040 and 0.064 m3. Mosquito density was the same for both: 1 female/840 cm3. In phase 2, room-based testing (40 ± 5 mosquitoes in 25-30 m3) was used as a proxy for field testing. The mosquito repellent employed was 15% N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide in ethanol at two doses: 1 and 0.5 g/600 cm2. The protection times measured at each laboratory were analyzed both separately and together using nonparametric (Kruskal-Wallis) test. The two alternatives methods showed to be potential alternatives to the current AIC method recreated field mosquito landing rates and achieved reproducible protection times across laboratories.