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Manuel Elkin Patarroyo

Prince of Asturias Award for Technical & Scientific Research 1994

Manuel Elkin Patarroyo Murillo (Ataco, Tolima, Colombia, 1946 - ) has created the first synthetic vaccine in the world which has been accepted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for the prevention of malaria. He transferred its patent to that organisation.

The vaccine has been successfully tested on more than 40,000 people in areas which suffer malaria epidemics (Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Brazil and, more recently, some African countries).

Malaria is a tropical disease which causes the death of between three and five million people every year, giving rise to between 300 and 500 clinical cases world- wide. The vaccine created by Patarroyo combats one of the most virulent forms of the disease (scientifically named SPf66), and has proved to be efficient for between 40% and 50% of adults and 77% of children under five.

Doctor Patarroyo has also been, over the last twenty years, an outstanding researcher into other diseases and has studied the possibilities of creating other synthetic vaccines (something the world of science had not expected to achieve until the year 2025).

A Doctor of Medicine and Surgery from the National University of Colombia, he extended his studies in Immunology and Virology in the United States. Founder, in 1984, and director of the Institute of Immunology at the San Juan de Dios Hospital in Bogota, he is a lecturer at the National University of Colombia and an associate lecturer of the Rockefeller University, New York and University of Stockholm (Sweeden).

Despite offers of work at research centres in the rest of the world, he decided to set up in his own country, Colombia, working with a small, interdisciplinary team and scant resources, managing to form a great research group.

Patarroyo was awarded the Colombian National Science Prize on various occasions, as well as the State of SÆo Paulo Prize (1988) and the award of the Third World Academy of Science (1990), among others. Furthermore, he has been a member of the Madrid Royal Academy of Natural, Physical and Exact Sciences since 1991.

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