Malaria remains prevalent throughout tropical and subtropical regions and almost a third of the World's population is exposed to the risk of infection. There is currently a serious resurgence of the disease in Asia and Central America. The failure of global eradication measures based upon the use of insecticides and chemotherapy has resulted from difficulties of practical implementation compounded by the spread of insecticide and drug resistance. Repeated natural infection does not produce detectable resistance to the exo-erythrocytic cycle of malaria in man. Irradiated sporozoite vaccines do, however, induce stage specific immunity in murine malaria and in a proportion of human subjects. Vaccinated individuals remain susceptible to blood stage infection which causes clinical malaria. In addition the vaccine is unstable and must be administered by intravenous inoculation. Since neither sporogonic nor exo-erythrocytic parasite development is cyclical in human malarias, there is little prospect for vaccine production through cultivation of these stages. The inhabitants of hyperendaemic areas become increasingly resistant to malaria during childhood and adolescence, through the slow development of specific, acquired immunity to asexual blood stage parasites. Immunity is mediated by antibody, which blocks merozoite invasion of red cells, as well as by cell mediated mechanisms and non-specific cytotoxic agents. Vaccination with merozoites induces long lasting immunity of broad serological specificity active against the blood-stage of the parasite. Merozoite vaccines can be preserved by freeze drying and harvested from continuous cultures of blood stage parasites. The major problem in development of a human merozoite vaccine concerns the requirement for Freund's complete adjuvant which is not acceptable for man. The effective immunity induced by vaccination contrasts with the slow development of incomplete resistance which follows repeated natural infection. The latter is associated with the generation of immune suppressor cells, lymphoid cell mitogens and soluble antigens, and in some species by the occurrence of antigenic variation - all of which may favour parasite survival. It is probable that vaccination with non-viable antigen of appropriate composition, induces immune effector processes without activating mechanisms which allow parasites to escape the consequences of immunity. Many effective vaccines such as those against measles, poliomyelitis, tetanus and rabies are commercially available but barely used in the developing world. The affected nations cannot afford their purchase, nor do the means exist for their distribution. It follows that if a safe and effective malaria vaccine were to be developed, its bulk manufacture and administration would require massive international support and co-operation.