CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan doctor and scientist Jacinto Convit, renowned for his development of a leprosy vaccine and a lifetime spent helping the poor, died yesterday at the age of 100.
Born in 1913 of a Spanish immigrant family and educated at a university in Caracas, Convit was moved by the stigmatization of leprosy patients and worked with them in the marginalized outskirts of the city as well as remote jungle areas.
“Dr Convit became a popular hero in Venezuela due to his dedication to the poor and to patients with feared conditions,” said an announcement of his death on his website.
“Throughout his career, he never charged his patients.”
In 1987, Convit combined existing tuberculosis treatment and a bacteria found in armadillos to design a new vaccination against leprosy that became used worldwide.