Daniel Bovet

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Fleurier, Switzerland
Birth Sign
Fleurier, Switzerland

Daniel Bovet was a Swiss-born Italian pharmacologist who became famous for discovering chemotherapeutic drugs that stopped certain body compounds from acting on the vascular system and skeletal muscles. In 1957, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for this work. Bovet’s most famous discovery was antihistamines, which he discovered in 1937. Antihistamines were used to treat allergies because they blocked the neurotransmitter histamine. Curare, a medication used to relax muscles before surgery, was the focus of Bovet’s research in 1947. He looked for a low-cost, consistent replacement to curare because it was an expensive and uncertain medicine. As a result, he developed gallamine and succinylcholine, which are now widely used. Bovet had a number of academic roles during his career, including Chief of the Laboratory of Therapeutic Chemistry at the Istituto Superiore di Sanità in Rome. He went on to become a pharmacology professor at the University of Sassari. He worked as the head of the National Research Council’s psychobiology and psychopharmacology laboratory in Rome and later as a professor of psychobiology at the University of Rome.

Childhood and Adolescence

Pierre Bovet and Amy Babut had Daniel Bovet on March 23, 1907 in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. His father worked as a pedagogy professor at the University of Geneva.
Bovet received his preliminary schooling in Geneva when he was a young man. He enrolled at the University of Geneva after finishing his early education. In 1927, he received his diploma from the same institution.

Career of Daniel Bovet

Following his studies, Bovet began working as a physiology assistant to Professor F Batelli. After that, he collaborated with Professor Guyenot. In addition, the latter assisted him in preparing his zoology and comparative anatomy thesis, which earned him a PhD in 1929.

Bovet began working at the Pasteur Institute in Paris in 1929, under the direction of Professor E Roux. Bovet began his career at the institute as an assistant. Professor Ernest Fourneau, the director of his department, met with Bovet on a regular basis. Bovet’s future researches were greatly influenced by Fourneau.

Bovet found the first antihistamine chemical, which could be used to treat allergic reactions, in 1937. Histamine’s impact was countered by the chemical. The substance’s discovery led to its application and further research. Meanwhile, Bovet became the head of the therapeutic chemistry laboratory in 1939, after ten years of service at the Institute.

The first antihistamine medication for human use was found successfully in 1942. Bovet’s own discovery of pyrilamine was made into a medicine two years later, in 1944.

Professor Domenico Marotta, Director of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità in Rome, invited Bovet to establish a Laboratory of Therapeutic Chemistry in 1947. Instead of continuing his association with the Pasteur Institute, he relocated to Rome. He rose through the ranks of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità’s Laboratory of Therapeutic Chemistry to become its Chief. He also became an Italian citizen.

Rome’s Istituto Superiore di Sanità has a Therapeutic Chemistry Laboratory. Curare, a medication used to relax muscles before surgery, was the focus of Bovet’s research. Because curare was expensive and unpredictable in nature, he began seeking for a substitute that would be less expensive and have a known impact. Bovet eventually developed hundreds of synthetic substitutes, two of which, gallamine and succinylcholine, became widely used.

Bovet was appointed professor of pharmacology at the University of Sassari in Italy in 1964. Later, he worked at the National Research Council in Rome as the head of the psychobiology and psychopharmacology laboratory from 1969 to 1971 before retiring to become a professor of psychobiology at the University of Rome La Sapienza. From 1971 through 1982, he held this role. He left the company in 1982.

Bovet authored almost 300 papers on biology, general pharmacology, chemotherapy, sulphonamide medicines, and sympathetic nervous system pharmacology during his lifetime. He even wrote on the treatment of allergic disorders, antihistamine synthesis, curare and curare-like compounds, and the use of curare as an anesthetic adjuvant. Bovet wrote numerous papers on various elements of central nervous system pharmacology as well as various changes of hormonal homeostasis.

Major Projects of Daniel Bovet

At the Pasteur Institute in Paris, Bovet made his most significant contribution. He identified medicines that prevented specific neurotransmitters from acting. Antihistamines, which block the neurotransmitter histamine, were discovered by him in 1937. Allergy medicine was developed as a result of the discovery.

While in Rome in 1947, Bovet worked on a more cost-effective version of curare, an expensive medication used to relax muscles before surgery. He developed hundreds of synthetic alternatives as a result of his study, two of which were widely used: gallamine and succinylcholine.

Achievements & Awards

Bovet received various honors throughout his lifetime, including the Plantamour Prize of the University of Geneva’s Faculty of Science in 1934, the Martin Damourette Prize of the Institute of France’s Academy of Sciences in 1936, and the General Muteau Prize of the Italian Academy of Science in 1941.

He was made a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honour in 1946.

In 1949, he received the Cameron Prize from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, the Bürgi Prize from the Faculty of Medicine in Berne, Switzerland, and the E. Paterno Prize from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

He and his wife shared the Italian National Research Council’s Scientific Illustration Prize in 1951. The University of Leeds awarded him the Addingham Gold Medal in 1952.

For his discovery of medications that block the effects of certain neurotransmitters, Bovet was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1957. The activity of the medication on the circulatory system and skeletal muscle is inhibited.

Bovet was named Grand Official of the Italian Republic’s Order of Merit in 1959.

Bovet was awarded honorary degrees by the universities of Palermo, Rio de Janeiro, Geneva, Montpellier, Paris, Nancy, Prague, and Strasbourg during his lifetime.

He belonged to a number of academic societies in Italy, France, the United Kingdom, the United States, Brazil, Argentina, and India.

Personal History and Legacy

Filomena Nitti was Bovet’s wife. She was the sister of F. Nitti, a bacteriologist. Apart from that, little is known about Bovet’s private life.

On April 8, 1992, Bovet passed away in Rome, Italy.

Estimated Net Worth

Daniel is one of the wealthiest pharmacologists and one of the most well-known pharmacologists. Daniel Bovet’s net worth is estimated to be $1.5 million, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.