It comes as some surprise to read that research is underway to see if the hookworm can treat asthma. It is thought that the worm reduces the inflammatory part of the body's immune response which improves its survival chances. Researchers at the University of Nottingham hope the worms may prove effective against conditions where the immune system overreacts, including Asthma, Crohn's disease, hay fever and multiple sclerosis, in which the immune system overreacts
The idea for using hookworms came from scientists noticing that diseases such as Crohn's and MS are uncommon in regions where there is widespread hookworm infestation. So far results are encouraging - although far from conclusive. The team has done two small trials to work out what dose of the worms would be safe for patients. Although it was testing for safety, not efficacy, Prof Pritchard said that many of the patients in a hay fever trial had opted not to have the worms removed with tablets at the end because they had seen an improvement in their symptoms.
The team is now embarking on a larger trial in patients with asthma to work out whether the hookworms actually diminish symptoms.
Very intriguing! I wonder if I will ever be prescribed Hookwormolin instead of Ventolin!