The Microbes Are Back With A Vengeance

In 1969, buoyed by the defeat of smallpox, polio, and other infectious ills over the previous two decades, Surgeon General William H. Stewart declared that science had won the war on microbes. Medicine, he said, should turn to fighting chronic ailments such as cancer and heart disease. It did: From 1970 to 1975, as the budget for the National Institutes of Health more than doubled, funding for infectious disease research grew by just 20%.

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