Insects are vectors of deadly diseases such as malaria and dengue. Various methods like insecticides have been used for the control of these vectors in different ecological conditions with certain limitations depending upon their own merits and demerits. Awareness about the insecticides, especially in terms of their toxicity is growing. Application of insecticide residual spraying as a method of vector control is resented by many as it causes inconvenience and the amount of insecticide required has side effects. Besides, indiscriminate use of insecticides has the problem of insecticide resistance among insects and environmental hazards also. A better method is use of personal protection measures sufficient to protect from the painful bites of blood sucking organisms such as mosquitoes, sandfly, blackfly, ratflea, and bed bugs, etc.

After extensive laboratory and field studies on repellent activities and inhalation toxicity, DRDO has developed a N, N-diethylphenylacetamide (DEPA) spray formulation as a personal protection measure. The spray is comparatively easy in application than the conventional cream-based and lotion formulations and provides protection for 6-8 hr from painful bites of blood sucking insects. It can be applied on skin, fabric, curtains, etc. without affecting its efficacy.

The Director General, Armed Force Medical Services, has given his consent for its use in the Defence Services. The Drug Controller of India has also approved DEPA. The technology of spray formulation has been transferred for commercial production with BIS specification IS 14187. DEPA has an excellent market potential and is competitive in respect of effectiveness and cost with products being marketed in western countries.