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Article
December 14, 1984

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

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

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Abstract

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

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