Thursday 27 October 2016

Irish scientists in medical breakthrough to combat Ascaris roundworm infection

Published 05/08/2016 | 02:30

Trinity College Dublin
Trinity College Dublin

Scientists at Trinity College Dublin and Maynooth University are part of a team that has unearthed a potential new preventative option to combat Ascaris roundworm infection.

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Ascaris lumbricoides, an intestinal parasite, affects an estimated one billion people worldwide, and is responsible for 60,000 deaths per annum.

It results in severe health consequences, including growth retardation and impaired cognitive development.  The infection, which affects an estimated one billion people worldwide, is particularly common in Third World countries.

Susceptibility to Ascaris infection differs between individuals, and heavily infected individuals have more severe symptoms and higher morbidity

Building on previous studies, which showed a difference in susceptibility to Ascaris between two different strains of mice, the researchers identified a clear distinction between the two strains and published their findings in the internationally regarded peer reviewed journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

It is thought that these new insights could lead to the development of better ways to prevent and treat Ascaris infection.

The study was led by Dr Jim Carolan, Maynooth University Department of Biology, in conjunction with Professor of Zoology at Trinity College, Celia Holland and Dr Joe Colgan of Queen Mary University London.

Dr Carolan said: “There is still a long way to go and much research to be done, but these findings point to new options in our efforts to control a disease that affects around one eighth of our planet’s population.”

Irish Independent

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