Clinical Epidemiology as a Research Discipline in Tropical Medicine

Ian A. McGregor Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Pembroke Place, Liverpool L3 5QA, England

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Today, research into tropical medicine is in a ferment of activity with new, almost magical technologies being applied to the study of age-old problems. Immunology has come of age, and has sired new disciplines of great promise. The immortalization of the antibody-producing cell has greatly facilitated the antigenic analysis of complex parasitic pathogens and currently nourishes prospects of targeted chemotherapy of zymotic diseases. Recombinant DNA procedures have made possible the production of complex antigen molecules uncontaminated by unwanted by-products and have facilitated the creation of vaccines of exceptional purity. It is, therefore, not surprising that universities, both ancient and modern, have stretched their resources to welcome and accommodate this new learning, or that young scientists of ability are increasingly seeking careers in such glittering disciplines. Insofar as these developments have rekindled interest in diseases which are of great prevalence and importance in the tropical world they are to be applauded.