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Wednesday, 14th of May 2014 Print

This week saw the death, at age 100, of Dr. Jacinto Convit, pioneer in leprology and vaccine development and designated a Hero of Public Health by the Pan American Health Organization. See details of his PAHO award at http://www.paho.org/hq/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3378:public-health-heroes:-dr.-jacinto-convit&Itemid=211&lang=en

Below, his biography.

Good reading


Wikipedia article on Dr. Jacinto Convit


11 September 1913
Caracas, Venezuela


12 May 2014 (aged 100)
Caracas, Venezuela



Alma mater

Central University of Venezuela (UCV), Caracas, Venezuela

Known for

Development of anti-leprosy vaccine and studies to cure different cancers


Rafaela Marotta Donofrio


Francisco Convit
Oscar Convit
Antonio Convit
Rafael Convit


Flora García Marrero (Mother)
Francisco Convit y Martí (Father)


Prince of Asturias Award, Technical and Scientific Research (1987)

This name uses Spanish naming customs; the first or paternal family name is Convit and the second or maternal family name is García.

Jacinto Convit García (11 September 1913 – 12 May 2014) was a Venezuelan physician and scientist, known for developing a vaccine to fight leprosy and his studies to cure different types of cancer. In 1987, he received a Prince of Asturias Award in the Scientific and Technical Research category. He has been awarded with about 45 orders of honour by Venezuelan and foreign universities. In 1988, he was nominated for a Nobel Prize in Medicine for his anti-leprosy vaccine.[1]


The son of Francesc Convit y Martí, a Spaniard with Catalonian roots who was nationalised in Venezuela, Convit was born in La Pastora, Libertador Municipality, Caracas. His mother was Flora García Marrero, a Venezuelan with Canarian roots. He began his studies in the Caracas School and continued in the Andrés Bello lyceum.[2] He was a student of Rómulo Gallegos in philosophy and mathematics. In 1932 he entered the Medical school at Central University of Venezuela in which he got his title as a Medical Science Doctor in 1938.[3] His grades gave him honorific mentions in subjects such as: physics and human anatomy, descriptive and topographic anatomy, clinical medicine, and clinical surgery, among others.

The Bio-Medicine institution receives fellows sent by the WHO/PAHO from America, Africa and Asia. In 1971 Convit was named by the WHO as Director of the Co-operative Centre for the Study and Histological Classification of Leprosy. In 1968 he became the president of the International Leprosy Association (ILA) and was re-elected in 1973. He was also designated as the president of the International Journal of Leprosy Corporation. In 1976 he was elected Director of the Pan American Research and Training in Leprosy and Tropical Diseases. He turned 100 in September 2013.[4] He died at the age of 100 on 12 May 2014.[5]

Cancer vaccine

On June 7, 2010, a Venezuelan newspaper announced the successful development by Convit of a new cancer vaccine intended to fight colon, stomach and breast cancer.[6]

In June 2010 the "Instituto de Biomedicina" published a note clarifying that they have been working for the previous three years on a vaccine against cancer and it is still in development. During this time they have been evaluating a small group of 23 patients, mostly breast cancer and a few of colon, stomach and brain cancers. They have been giving patients an experimental model of immunotherapy against cancer, which have had encouraging results.[6]

This vaccine is based on the idea that cancerous cells appear and propagate because the body does not detect them. A sample of the tumour mixed with formalin and BCG marks the malignous cells so the immune system reacts and attacks the cancer.[6]


1.      [1] Pan American Health Organization page on Jacinto Convit

2.      Chinea, Eyanir (May 12, 2014). "Renowned Venezuelan expert on leprosy Jacinto Convit dies". Reuters. Retrieved May 13, 2014.

3.      "Perspectives from PAHO public health heroes". scielosp.org. Retrieved May 13, 2014.

4.      "Felicite al doctor Jacinto Convit por su cumpleaños 100". El Universal (in Spanish). 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2013-09-11.

5.      Dr. Jacinto Convit Dies: Nobel Prize Winner Dies at 100

6.      "Venezuela : Dr. Jacinto Convit develops a vaccine against cancer of breast, colon and stomach".

External links