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Researcher Richard J. Martin works predominantly on filarial parasites and how to develop drugs with the best parasite cleanse ability that can evade resistance.

He explains

  • How various filarial parasites move through their lifecycle, enter humans through biting insects, and affect various parts of the body;
  • How the worms themselves have a nervous system that helps them seek different parts of the body and release chemicals to trick the human immune system; and
  • Why social and political factors are a part of this battle against parasites and what anti parasitic medication for humans may offer at least a medical solution.

Richard J. Martin is the Clarence Hartley Covault Distinguished Professor and the Dr. E.A. Benbrook Endowed Chair in Pathology and Parasitology at Iowa State University. He specializes in filarial parasitology and tells listeners about their impact on human health as well as describes their physiology and ecology.

For example, he describes the life stages and habits of the worms that cause river blindness and elephantiasis and how these diseases result from the worm number and activity. He explains challenges to eradicating parasites completely by discussing the heartworm parasite existing in the U.S. despite effective sanitation. Therefore, in struggling countries with bad sanitation, effective anti parasitic medication for humans is a key part of the battle.

He also ties this battle to social and political forces that make this anti parasitic effort especially challenging. For example, better governance and a different motivation for medication funding could make differences in a country’s ability to clean and sanitize these areas as well as motivate drug companies to relieve the suffering of those with these parasites.

In the effort to find the best parasite cleanse that is not prone to resistance, the ideal looks like a drug that can be take once a year to treat and prevent all the filarial parasites. Dr. Martin describes one drug that is moving to phase 3 trials, and says that if it gets through, it will be a big breakthrough.

To find out more, google him and find his research on research gate or send him an email. His university website is genetics.iastate.edu/people/richard-martin.

Available on Apple Podcasts: apple.co/2Os0myK

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