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FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2005 Feb 1;43(2):115-24.

Immunobiology of hookworm infection.

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  • 1Helminth Biology Laboratory, Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Brisbane, 300 Herston Road, Herston, Qld 4006, Australia.


Hookworms infect almost one billion people and are a major cause of iron-deficiency anaemia in developing countries of the tropics. Despite their prevalence and the morbidity they cause, little is known about the immune response to this complex eukaryotic parasite. Recent publications have shed light on the human cellular immune responses to hookworms, as well as mechanisms that hookworms utilize to skew the immune response in its favour. Unlike most other human helminth infections, neither age- nor exposure-related immunity develops in the majority of infected people. A vaccine is therefore a highly desirable goal. To this end, gene sequencing efforts have resulted in the deposition of more than 10,000 hookworm cDNA sequences in the public domain, providing a molecular snapshot of this intriguing parasite and providing novel tools for the development of new control strategies. Significant progress has been made in the development of anti-hookworm recombinant vaccines, and clinical trials are expected to begin in the near future.

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