Victor Babeş (July 4, 1854 – October 19, 1926) was a Romanian physician, biologist, and one of the earliest bacteriologists. He made early and significant contributions to the study of rabies, leprosy, diphtheria, tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases.
Born in Vienna (at the time, the capital of the Austrian Empire) to an ethnic Romanian family from the Banat, he studied in Budapest, then in Vienna, where he received his doctorate in Science. Attracted by the discoveries of Louis Pasteur, he left for Paris, and worked first in Pasteur's laboratory, and then with Victor André Cornil. Babeş was one of the founders of serum therapy, and was the first to introduce rabies vaccination to Romania. His work also had a strong influence upon veterinary medicine, especially concerning prophylaxis and serum medication.
In 1885 he discovered a parasitic sporozoan of the ticks, named 'Babesia' (of the genus Babesiidae), and which causes a rare and severe disease called 'babesiosis'.
In the same year, he published the first treatise of bacteriology in the world, 'Bacteria and their role in the histopathology of infectious diseases'.
Babeş' scientific endeavours were wide-ranging. He was the first to demonstrate the presence of tuberculous bacilli in the urine of infected patients.
He also discovered cellular inclusions in rabies-infected nerve cells. Of diagnostic value, they were to be named after him (Babeş-Negri bodies).
He became a professor of Pathology and Bacteriology at the Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Bucharest. He was also a member of the Romanian Academy (in 1893), of the Paris Académie Nationale de Médecine, and an officer of the French Légion d'honneur.
The Babeş-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca and the University of Medicine and Pharmacy "Victor Babeş" Timişoara bears his name.
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