throughout its existence funded directly by the U.S. Congress, although the Panamanian government donated the facilities in which the laboratory was housed. Named for General William C. Gorgas, a U.S. Army physician and engineer credited with controlling malaria and yellow fever during construction of the Panama Canal, the facility initially concentrated its research efforts on malaria, leishmaniasis, and yellow fever. Later, in fruitful collaboration with the Middle America Research Unit, an NIH field station (see below), the GML conducted studies of many arboviral infections indigenous to the American tropics. More recently, Gorgas scientists became known for their work on sexually transmitted diseases, human papillomavirus and cervical cancer, and hepatitis A.
In 1989, Congress decided that the money that historically had been given to the GML on a noncompetitive basis should be awarded through an open, national competition (U.S. Medicine, 1991). The laboratory was unable to enter the competition for funding, mainly because of its difficulty in retaining professional staff as a result of the political situation in Panama. The GML managed to survive through fiscal year 1990, while attempts were made to obtain funding through a cooperative U.S. Agency for International Development-Pan American Health Organization (USAID-PAHO) effort, or through the CDC. When these attempts failed, the Gorgas Memorial Institute relinquished the laboratory and its equipment to the Panamanian government and dismissed the staff. The Panamanian government has maintained the laboratory with a small cadre of scientists who survey dengue and leishmaniasis, and it is attempting to obtain funding from other sources to expand the laboratory's activities.
U.S. Army Medical Research Unit—Malaysia Investigations into the efficacy of chloramphenicol for the treatment and prophylaxis of scrub typhus were initiated by American military scientists in Malaya in 1948. From the time it was formally established five years later, the U.S. Army Medical Research Unit in Kuala Lumpur not only investigated diseases of importance to the U.S. military but also frequently assisted the Malaysian government in the investigation of disease outbreaks of known and unknown etiology. Over more than four decades of scientific studies, the laboratory was involved in research on scrub typhus, typhoid fever, leptospirosis, malaria, and other tropical diseases (Oaks et al., 1983). Much of what is known about the vector of scrub typhus (the Leptotrombidium mite) was the result of collaborative efforts between the U.S. Army Unit and the Institute for Medical Research, Kuala Lumpur, in which the unit was housed (Ramanathan et al., 1976). Despite these achievements, this DoD laboratory, which had a strong research record (particularly in the area of vector-borne diseases), was closed in 1989 because of lack of funding.