In addition to the hookworms and whipworms already being studied in Nottingham and the US, respectively, there is a new parasite under the microscope in Dublin and Bangor.
The new worm, the blood-dwelling Schistosoma mansoni, has a long association with humans, spanning millions of years, and it currently infects over 250 million people in tropical countries.
The Irish research group has already shown that experimental infections with schistosomes can prevent anaphylaxis and asthma-like lung inflammation. Attention is now focused on understanding how the worm achieves this effect, with the intention of developing new drugs to treat a range of diseases, including allergy.
J. Exp. Med. 2005; 202: 1319-325
First published in June 2006
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