Infecting Healthy Adults with Hookworm is the Next Step toward Eradicating the Infection
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Researchers at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences are in the process of testing two low-cost vaccines to prevent human hookworm infections. In collaboration with the Sabin Vaccine Institute and with the support of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. David Diemert and Dr. Jeffrey Bethony are carrying out trials with the help of healthy, U.S. adults.
"When Anna Markowitz learned that George Washington University researchers were looking for healthy volunteers to infect with bloodthirsty hookworms, her decision was resolute.
"'Done. I'm in,' she thought.
"'I knew it was weird and thought they would probably have a hard time finding participants,' said Ms. Markowitz, a graduate student in the Milken Institute School of Public Health. 'I felt like if I wasn't going to do it, then who was?'
"The study is a critical step in the scientists' bold quest to eradicate hookworm disease in the poorest parts of the world. Though virtually nonexistent in the United States, hookworm still infects more than 500 million people worldwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."