Convit, creator of anti-leprosy vaccine, dead

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Caracas: Venezuelan physician and scientist Jacinto Convit, creator of the anti-leprosy vaccine and one of the leading researchers in the study of tropical diseases, died Monday in Caracas. He was 100.

Convit, the 1987 winner of Spain's Prince of Asturias Award for Scientific Research, invented a vaccine to prevent and cure leprosy, which in turn provided the basis for creating an immunotherapy for leishmaniasis, and contributed to the study of other illnesses like Chagas disease.

Declared a Public Health Hero by the Pan American Health Organisation, Convit worked and taught in the US for years.

Upon his return to Venezuela, he founded the Institute of Biomedicine.

Among the distinctions he received was France's National Order of the Legion of Honour in 2011.

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