Intestinal Worms

Affecting the world’s poorest people, infection with intestinal worms (hookworms, roundworms, whipworms) can result in severe disability and malnutrition, hindering growth and impacting on productivity and cognitive development with infection often ending in death. Globally there are a billion people infected with intestinal worms with children affected disproportionately.

Novel diagnostics, treatments and other control interventions are needed urgently to combat diseases caused by intestinal worm parasites.


  • developing effective molecular-based point of care and field-based diagnostic tests for intestinal worm infections
  • working with the Australian National University, University of Queensland and various Institutes in China, Philippines and Vietnam, a cartoon DVD promoting hygiene to school children in rural areas has changed the children’s behaviour and thus reduced intestinal worm infection rates. See the Magic Glasses film below
  • development of therapeutics from intestinal worms-derived compounds for the treatment of allergic asthma, food allergy and inflammatory bowel diseases
  • early life exposure to hookworm-derived products to prevent adult onset of allergic asthma and inflammatory bowel disease
  • use of hookworm-derived proteins and peptides to treat mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression
  • investigation of the role of prenatal worm exposure on the infant microbiome and susceptibility to diarrheal disease in a PNG mother and baby cohort



“The Magic Glasses” is a specially created educational video that informs children about the transmission and prevention of soil-transmitted helminths. See the NEJM article “Health-Education Package to Prevent Worm Infections in Chinese Schoolchildren”