Could this soap stop malaria?

Story highlights

  • The female anopheles mosquito killed 438,000 people in 2015 alone
  • Faso Soap uses natural ingredients to repel the deadly insect
  • The Burkina Faso-based start-up is taking the product through rigorous scientific testing
  • It could eventually be used to fight Zika

(CNN)It's just a little sting, so slight often the victim doesn't even feel it.

But it's administered by the most dangerous animal in the world -- the female anopheles mosquito.
    This insect sinking its mouth into human flesh to feed its unborn children killed 438,000 people in 2015 alone -- 90% of those fatalities were in Sub-Saharan Africa.
    For this region, malaria is still a crippling burden, estimated to cost countries such as Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo up to 1.3% of their GDP, according to the Malaria Consortium.
    So imagine if this issue could be wiped out by a simple bar of soap.
    That's what a Burkina Faso start-up is proposing.

    A bar of soap

    Faso Soap is the brainchild of Moctar Dembélé, of Burkina Faso, and Gérard Niyondiko, of Burundi.
    Comprised of Shea butter, lemongrass, African marigold and other natural resources that are plentiful in Burkina Faso, it is designed to leave an insect-repelling odor on the user's skin after washing.
    It could be used to prevent against a wide range of mosquito-transmitted conditions -- perhaps eventually even Zika.
    "Soap is one product you can find in all African family homes, no matter how poor they are," Niyondiko tells CNN. "Most people wash in the evening and you want to be protected before you go to bed at night."
    The majority of Africans, he adds, do not have access or the financial means to buy expensive repellents.

    Suds that stick around

    Getting people to use the soap, the team knew, would be easy -- but making it effective after it has been rinsed off would be hard.