Blood-sucking parasitic WORMS could cure asthma within 10 years

Asthma is less common in countries where people are more likely to have parasitic worms that live in the intestines, and feed off blood and mucus.

In Southeast Asia, one in 20 people have asthma, whereas one in 11 have the condition in the UK.

The worms, known as roundworms, release a protein that prevents humans from having allergic reactions.

Seeing as asthma can be triggered by allergies - including pollen and dust mites - researchers found the worms could be used to help treat the respiratory condition.

“We have known for some years that infections with parasitic worms appear to protect people against asthma,” said leader of the research, Dr Henry McSorley.

“We have always believed that identifying exactly how parasites prevent asthma could inspire new treatments.

“By identifying this new protein, we have found a new way of suppressing the allergic responses which cause asthma.

“In the future, we hope to develop this further.”

The researchers confirmed worms could be used to treat asthma in mine trials.

A treatment for the condition, that uses the protein secreted by roundworms, could be developed within five to 10 years, Asthma UK said.

The medication would reduce, and possibly even completely prevent, any allergic responses in humans.

The research was an exciting development for the draining condition, said Asthma UK’s Director of Research and Policy, Dr Samantha Walker.

“[Asthma] leaves people gasping for breath and in some cases, can be fatal, so this research is an important step towards finding a cure for this type of asthma,” said Walker.

“It is becoming clear that there are many different types of asthma and that not all of them respond to current treatment, which is why research like this is so important.”

Asthma sufferer Val Hudson described an asthma attack as feeling like someone was holding a pillow over her face.

Hudson added: “It’s incredible to think worms could cure asthma, and research like this will offer hope to the many people who like me who have asthma.”



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