Parasitic helminths must establish chronic infections to complete their life cycle and therefore are potent modulators of multiple facets of host physiology. Parasitic helminths have coevolved with humans to become arguably master selectors of our immune system, whereby they have impacted on the selection of genes with beneficial mutations for both host and parasite. While helminth infections of humans are a significant health burden, studies have shown that helminths or helminth products can alter susceptibility to unrelated infectious or inflammatory diseases. This has generated interest in the use of helminth infections or molecules as therapeutics. In this review, we focus on the impact of helminth infections on pulmonary immunity, especially with regard to homeostatic lung function, pulmonary viral and bacterial (co)infections, and asthma.
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