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Bovet, Daniel

curare relaxants antihistamines type

[bohvay] (1907–92) Swiss–French–Italian pharmacologist: introduced antihistamines, and curare-type muscle relaxants for surgery.

After qualifying in Geneva, Bovet went to the Pasteur Institute in Paris, later moving to Rome. In Paris he was a member of a group that showed that the antibacterial drug Prontosil owed its effect to its conversion in the body to sulphanilamide, which is the parent of the sulphonamide group of drugs. Sulphanilamide was cheap and unpatented, and its derivatives have been widely used against streptococcal infections.

Later Bovet found compounds that antagonize the action of histamine; this opened the way to widespread use of such antihistamines for the relief of allergic symptoms and related conditions (such as the common cold). A visit to Brazil began his interest in the nerve poison curare; later he made simpler synthetic compounds which have a usefully short-acting curare-type activity. These have been much used as muscle relaxants in surgical operations since 1950. Bovet received a Nobel Prize in 1957.

[back] Boveri, Theodor Heinrich

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