Policy ForumInfectious Disease

Medical Helminthology in the 21st Century

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Science  24 Aug 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5534, pp. 1437-1438
DOI: 10.1126/science.1060733

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In many ways, this can be described as "the best of times and the worst of times" for studies of parasitic worms. On the one hand, the World Health Organization has developed a resolution that details the enormous public health burden represented by the 2 billion people on earth who are infected by soil-transmitted helminths and schistosomes. They, in combination with other public and private agencies, are attacking these and these and other major helminthic diseases (such as onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis) with massive drug treatment campaigns. However, at the same time, the authors of this Policy Forum recommend that research programs be reenergized to stem the loss of researchers in the field and to attract new investigators who can develop the tools and technology that will be needed to face 21st-century challenges.