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Manuel Elkin Patarroyo - wikidoc

Manuel Elkin Patarroyo

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Manuel Elkin Patarroyo (born November 3, 1947) is a Colombian pathologist who developed the world's first synthetic vaccine for malaria, a disease transmitted by mosquitos that affects millions of people in the Third World every year. The vaccine was evaluated in clinical trials carried out by the WHO in Gambia, Tanzania and Thailand, and had mixed results[1]. However, the vaccine has been proven effective at around 30 percent of the times and could save an estimated 1 million lives out of an annual death toll of 3 million; which is the most effective vaccine against malaria to this day.


Patarroyo studied medicine at the National University of Colombia, received a scholarship to Yale University, and subsequently received his PhD from Rockefeller University in New York.

He was working on improving the vaccine at the Instituto Nacional de Inmunología based in the Hospital San Juan de Dios in Bogotá, Colombia. Unfortunately, lack of government funding and mismanagement led to the bankruptcy of the Hospital San Juan de Dios and therefore to the relocation of his lab. After having worked for more than two decades at the Hospital San Juan de Dios, Dr. Patarroyo could not deter the demise of this very important Colombian teaching hospital.


  1. - Susan Aldridge, Magic Molecules: How Drugs Work (Cambridge University Press, 1998), p. 89

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