Daniel Bovet

Daniel Bovet
(1907 - 1992)

Swiss-born Italian pharmacologist who received the 1957 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for his discoveries of certain chemotherapeutic agents.
Bovet studied in Geneva, graduating with a doctorate in science in 1929. He went to the Pasteur Institute in Paris and became head of the therapeutic chemistry laboratory in 1937. In 1944 Bovet discovered pyrilamine (mepyramine), the first antihistamine, which, in counteracting the effect of histamine, is effective against allergic reactions.

In 1947 a search for a synthetic substitute for curare (a muscle relaxant) led to his discovery of gallamine and other muscle relaxants. Among these are derivatives of succinylcholine, whose curare-like action he was the first to recognize. Curare and its synthetic substitutes came into use in conjunction with light anesthesia during surgery to induce muscle relaxation.

In 1947 Bovet was invited to establish a laboratory of chemotherapeutics at the Superior Institute of Health in Rome, and eventually he took Italian citizenship. In 1964 he became professor of pharmacology at the University of Sassari, Italy. He served as the head of the psychobiology and psychopharmacology laboratory of the National Research Council (Rome) from 1969 until 1971, when he became professor of psychobiology at the University of Rome (1971-82).

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