Researchers at the Malaghan Institute (Wellington) have made a discovery which could hasten the development of a vaccine for hookworm.
The parasite affects an estimated 1 billion people, and is a leading cause of deaths of mothers and children in developing countries.
An excerpt: (read in full here)
“Prof Le Gros said current controls for hookworm required frequent drenching with antihelminthic drugs in school-age children, but high rates of re-infection occurred soon after treatment and there was evidence of emerging drug resistance.
“”Vaccination is currently viewed as the only long-term solution for reducing the enormous burden this disease imposes on developing countries,” Prof Le Gros said.
“The hookworm which affects humans is not found in New Zealand.
“”Our findings imply that for a vaccine to be effective it must target the immune cells resident in the lung and stimulate a specific kind of immune response that we have not yet discovered,” Prof Le Gros said.