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Levaditi, the Romanian researcher who was nominated 4 times for the Nobel Prize in Medicine

Have you ever heard of Constantin Levaditi? His name is quite an important one as he was a genius researcher and his name is connected to the anti-polio vaccine, he contributed to the establishment of chemotherapy and the development of antibiotics. He is basically one of the most important Romanian researchers in medicine and he has had a major influence on the field of medicine.

Constantin Levaditi was born in Galati in 1874 and one of the streets in Galati carries his name. His family was poor and his father was a greek immigrant who worked in the Galati port and his mother was Romanian. When he was only six year old he had to start working in a shop as both his parents fell ill. His job was to deliver orders from his uncle’s shop. After two years his parents died and he was taken into care by one of his relatives who worked as a nurse in a hospital. His relative noticed that he was very smart and sent him to school. After graduating highschool, he went to study to the medical school in Bucharest where he had Victor Babes as a mentor.

He became a doctor in 1902 and then he specialized in researching tuberculosis in Paris at the Louis Pasteur Institute and to Frankfurt, at the Experimental Therapy Institute. His research in polio, herpes and lethargic encephalitis have been greatly praised and have been appreciated on a theoretical and practical level.

Constating Levaditi has also managed to contribute to the invention of the antipolio vaccine by cultivating the polio virus on non-nervous cells in 1913.

He returned to Romania in 1919 as a researcher to teach at university but Romanian universities have not accepted him as he has criticized the Romanian national health system and the political parties. He often said that it is not acceptable that the government does not care for its people and that there are not enough doctors and hospitals. He has thus returned to France to continue his research. In 1920 he was invited to lead the Rockefeller Institute in New York but he has refused and in 1926 he has become a member of the Romanian Academy. Then, he has become the dean of the bacteriology French school and he has dedicated his last years to research antibiotics, precisely penicillin, subtilin, and streptomycin. He is also considered as one of the founders of virology, immunology and modern inframicrobiology. His research on syphilis, polio, rabies and chemiotheraphy are considered vary valuable in the field of medicine.

He has been many times awarded by the French Academy of Research and by famous universities from Great Britain, Germany and USA. He also worked with the Austrian Karl Landsteiner (1868–1943) who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1930 . Levaditi was also nominated for the Nobel Prize in Medicine four times. In fact, between 1920-1950, four Romanians were nominated for the Nobel Prize. These are Victor Babeş, Ion Cantacuzino, Thoma Ionescu and Constantin Levaditi.



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