Venezuelan researcher Jacinto Convit dies at age 100

Portrait of Venezuela’s pride and his 70-year fight to develop treatments for diseases like leprosy, leishmaniasis and cancer

Dr. Jacinto Convit, who investigated some of the most challenging public health problems, from leprosy to leishmaniasis to cancer, and cared for thousands of the patients most in need, has died in Venezuela at age 100. In 2012, our journalist Abby Tabor produced a portrait of this immense researcher who had a great impact on research, but also on the economy of his country.

Dr. Jacinto Convit, who investigated some of the most challenging public health problems, from leprosy to leishmaniasis to cancer, and cared for thousands of the patients most in need, has died in Venezuela at age 100. In 2012, our journalist Abby Tabor produced a portrait of this immense researcher who had a great impact on research, but also on the economy of his country.

 

October, 2012 - This past week, six remarkable scientists were chosen to receive Nobel Prizes for their work, from a pool of an even greater number of worthy nominees. In 1988, Venezuelan researcher Jacinto Convit was among the nominees, acknowledged for his huge contributions to health, including profoundly life-changing developments for those patients most scorned throughout history: victims of leprosy. Already well advanced in his career at the time of his nomination, at age 99 he is still in the lab today.

 

 

Dr. Convit currently leads a group investigating immune therapy for breast, stomach and colon cancer, which are just the latest illnesses of many he has chosen to attack. Over the years, Jacinto Convit has created a biomedical foundation, gained international recognition for its health worker training, brought greater integration of services to Venezuela’s health system, advanced the understanding of several parasitic diseases, and eliminated leprosy as a public health problem – all in a country hardly over-endowed with resources. This prolific career began, in fact, in the very modest surroundings of the Cabo Blanco Leper Colony.   =>  Read more...