Colorado-based company’s soap helping fight Zika virus

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LAKEWOOD, Colo. -- The recent outbreak of the Zika virus has put mosquito-borne illnesses back in the spotlight, and one Colorado-based company is doing its part to be part of the solution.

Osana Bar is an all-natural mosquito repellent soap. Every time you buy a box, it donates a bar of soap to a country suffering from mosquito borne illnesses.

“Osana’s whole mission is how do we prevent those preventable deaths,” co-founder Kenn Kelly said. “When you go to these villages and you see people suffering from things that are preventable that we don’t deal with in the U.S., it’s evident that we need to do something about it.”

The problem is global: 1.8 million people die every year because of malaria and sanitation-based illnesses.

“The big thing right now is Zika virus, but there’s West Nile, malaria, dengue. There are a ton of mosquito-borne illnesses and viruses,” Kelly said.

And Osana makes it easy for you to be a part of the solution.

“Someone buys a package of Osana and they’re buying three bars,” Kelly said. “The fourth bar represents the bar that we donated on their behalf.”

Osana donates multiple times a year to countries like Ghana, Haiti, Tanzania and Uganda. Brazil is next on the list.

“I think it gives us fuel to persevere,” Kelly said. “We are a really small company, we are bootstrapped, resources are thin, everyone is working really hard. So it’s the fuel that keeps us going.”

The packaging is also filled with testimonials and information about how customers are contributing.

“One of the villages we have been supporting for a few years, it talks about ring worm and cases of malaria in these children at the orphanage have actually decreased,” Kelly said while showing off a package of Osana Bars.

As a Colorado State University graduate and Colorado native, Kelly knows the importance of mosquito repellent in the state, but even more around the world.

“The people that use it the most are people in the outdoor lifestyle,” he said. “Westerners find it really helpful. We give them a chance to partner with not only protecting themselves from being bit but also help save lives around the world.”

Kelly also said the soap bars are popular for people traveling. Osana soap is sold on its website  and at select retailers in Denver.

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