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SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN. 1988 Nov; 259(5):126-33.Despite the tremendous strides in global immunization in less developed countries (LDCs) in the last 25 years, much remains to be done and the momentum has slowed. Vaccination programs continue to prove that they are less expensive, easier to implement, and in some cases more effective than other public health programs. Therefore it is imperative to produce and deliver new or improved vaccines to LDCs to prevent many infectious diseases and save the lives of children. Yet economic and political obstacles impede the development of these vaccines, even though the scientific know-how already exists. Manufacturers of vaccines that have been around for a long time and used widely in developed nations have often sold these vaccines to international agencies, such as WHO, at production cost. They do this because they have already recouped research & development (R&D) costs. When it comes to R&D of new vaccines, however, manufacturers are generally unwilling to invest time and money into R&D since they may not recoup their costs and make a profit. International agencies do not have the money to pay the high prices charged by manufacturers. Instead of the public health community in LDCs deciding on the development of new vaccines, the decision is left almost entirely in the hands of a few institutes or commercial manufacturers in the developed world. Other than continuing with the status quo, however, possible solutions do exist. For example, the UN could create an institute to develop and manufacture its own vaccines. Another possibility is that R&D and production of vaccines for diseases prevalent in an LDC or region could take place within that specified area.