NIH grants University of Washington $2M for hookworm vaccine trial

Researchers from the University of Washington received a $2.1 million dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health to conduct a clinical trial for a hookworm vaccine. The trial will take place in an area of Brazil where the parasitic infection is endemic.

According to the CDC, anywhere from 576 million to 740 million people across the world are infected with hookworm. Hookworm is a parasite that subsists in the lower intestine. Transmission occurs when hookworm eggs are passed in the feces of an infected person. If the waste is deposited into the soil, the eggs can mature and hatch. The larvae can then mature into worms that can penetrate human skin.

A hookworm vaccine could be helpful in endemic areas because the anti-worm drugs used to treat the infection do little to prevent re-infection. The current treatments could also incite drug-resistance in the future.

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