Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Spy Vs. Spy : Who Cured The Leprosy?
This is a common image of Jesus of Nazareth. While there is much argument as to whether or not said man/deity did exist, faithful believe that he healed 10 random lepers of their disfiguring disease, sending a message of tolerance to the Middle East. Since this event is alleged to have occurred over 1900 years prior to the discovery of drugs to rid the body of the leprosy bacilli, it is not possible for it to have happened, but it's a real feel-good story and millions of people use it daily to make them better people.
Regardless of the verisimilitude of the Christ story, most people in the Western world have certainly heard of the guy.
This grandfatherly gentleman is 98 year old doctor and super-scientist Jacinto Convit. For 75 years, he has worked in developing vaccines and cures for some of the world's most dreaded diseases. Dr. Convit was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1988 for developing a vaccine to fight leprosy. He is also regarded as the man who developed the cure for the awful disease, saving the livelihoods of a great number of people worldwide and providing very real hope where there previously was none. Combined, his treatments have caused the number of new leprosy infections to drop at a rate of approximately 20% per annum. Additionally, his research was the basis for the vaccine against Leishmaniasis.
He currently leads a team at Vargas Hospital in Venezuela that is working on a vaccine to combat stomach, breast, and colon cancer. The therapeutic vaccine combines a tumor sample with BCG and formalin with the idea that the body will recognize the invasive cells when it previously could not, triggering an immune response that attacks the malignancy. While still in early stages, this therapy has very few side effects and will hopefully replace chemotherapy, becoming a real cure for a disease which has claimed millions.
There is no disputing the fact that Dr. Jacinto Convit has altered the lives of so many people around the world, with his work continuing to live on long after he does, provided that he doesn't cure dying of old age. A curious science geek can find hundreds of research papers and millions of words that all come from the mind of this brilliant gentleman, and the folks who work with him on a daily basis will attest to the fact that Jacinto Convit Garcia is very much a living human being despite the fact that his accomplishments may seem legendary.
Even though he has truly altered the course of medicine, very few people outside of the medical research field have ever heard of Jacinto Convit.
What's wrong with this picture?
Posted by Michel-Exildas Galipeau at 18:15