[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
December 14, 1984

Benevolent 'world war' declared humanity's longtime disease foes

JAMA. 1984;252(22):3071-3080. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350220001001

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


The techniques of modern molecular biology are opening promising avenues for the World Health Organization's long-sought goal for the ultimate control of six major tropical diseases—malaria, filariasis, trypanosomiasis, leprosy, schistosomiasis, and leishmaniasis. Among the recent advances in some of these diseases:

  • A candidate vaccine against leprosy is currently undergoing clinical trials;

  • A vaccine against malaria is in sight, and improved drugs, including a new agent from the People's Republic of China, are under active investigation;

  • A new drug for the management and perhaps even prevention of onchocerciasis, or river blindness, is undergoing an extended field trial;

  • Finally, a well-studied and highly promising candidate vaccine against the rotavirus responsible for diarrheal diseases of infants and children is at hand and may be ready for use in a year or two.

In addition, novel strategies are being instituted for the better control of many of the