Venezuelan ‘hero’ in fight against leprosy dies
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Dr. Jacinto Convit, who played a key role in fighting two of the world’s most feared diseases, has died in Venezuela at age 100, the foundation that bears his name announced Monday.
Convit’s work toward a vaccine for leprosy helped develop a therapy against the tropical disease leishmaniasis, which kills some 20,000 to 30,000 people annually across the world.
He work led the Pan American Health Organization to declare him a “public health hero” in 2002. He was honored with Spain’s Prince of Asturias Prize for scientific research in 1987.
Convit was continuing to oversee work toward developing a vaccine against cancers at the Institute of Biomedicine that he founded, and he published the last of his more than 300 scientific papers in 2013.
Born in Caracas, he attended the Central University of Venezuela and later worked during the 1940s at Colombia University in New York and Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. He taught at Stanford University and the University of Miami in the 1960s.