The humble worm could hold the key to wiping out asthma and other conditions which are on the rise due to the modern mania with cleanliness, reckon scientists.
Researchers in Nottingham are currently investigating whether giving hook worms to asthma sufferers can cure their condition.
In developed countries, the worms have been eliminated from humans, because of an increased emphasis on hygiene, reports the Telegraph.
However, experts believe their absence could be one of the reasons why some illnesses, including asthma and diabetes, are increasingly prevalent.
Now, a trial by scientists at Nottingham University is testing whether infecting asthma sufferers with hookworms can ease their symptoms.
Besides UK boffins, American researchers are also attempting to replicate the results of an Argentinian study which showed that infecting multiple sclerosis sufferers with parasites slowed the progression of the condition.
If successful, researchers hope that pharmaceutical companies could develop drugs which have the same positive effect on the immune system as worms.
Professor Jan Bradley, an expert in parasite immunology from Nottingham University, said that our immune systems could be "out of balance" because of a lack of the parasites.
"It's not inconceivable that for certain bowel conditions you might take it in your drink," she said.