Georges Blanc (1884-1963)
French physician and biologist, born on Dec. 3, 1884 in Vauvert (Gard, France). His father, Henri Blanc, was a pastor of Protestant Reformed Church. His mother, Claire, was the daughter of Joseph Milsand, who was a man of letters. He was L. Blaizot 's brother-in-law.
Attended high school in Dijon then in Paris, where he enrolled in medical training at the Medical School and registered at the Faculty of Sciences.
1907 Graduated in sciences from the Faculty of Sciences in Paris.
1911-1914 Thesis defense for medical doctorate, the dissertation topic of which was : "L'évolution des spirochètes chez les Ixodidae" (evolution of spirochetes in Ixodidae) ; became assistant to R. Blanchard at the laboratory of parasitology in the Medical School of Paris ; appointed as head of works at the National Agricultural School in Montpellier, where he conducted research on parasitology in vertebrates and on bacterial infections in insects.
1914 Joined Ch. Nicolle at the Pasteur Institute in Tunis, succeeding the late A. Conor. Together with Cuénod and E. Conseil, commenced research on Mediterranean diseases and contributed to the discovery of the mode of typhus transmission to humans.
1914-1918 During First World War, served as a volunteer on the Serbian war front in 1915.
1919 By returning to Tunisia, he was put in charge of the laboratory for military bacteriology ; then returned to the Pasteur Institute in Tunis where he conducted research on mycetoma caused by spirochetes transmitted by rats in Tunis.
1920-1932 At the request of E. Roux, appointed as deputy director then director of the Pasteur Institute in Athens ; conducted research on smallpox, herpes and dengue virus ; devoted himself in the understanding of the role of intermediate hosts such as ticks and mosquitos in the transmission of the diseases ; moreover, conducted research on visceral leishmaniasis (kala-azar), cutaneous anthrax and leprosy.
1922 Organized a parasitological mission to Crete, on behalf of the Hellenic Pasteur Institute ; M. Langeron participated in it.
1924 Became a corresponding member of the French Society of Biology ( Société de biologie ).
1927 Elected associated member of the French Society of Exotic Pathology (Société de Pathologie Exotique, SPE).
1932 Attended the International Congress for Mediterranean Healthcare in Marseille ; as a spokesman, reported the dengue issue.
1932-1962 At the request of E. Roux, appointed as director of the Pasteur Institute in Casablanca (Morocco) ; conducted research on typhus in mice, which led to the development of the first living vaccine against classical typhus fever, based on a bile-attenuated murine virus ; with M. Baltazard , intended to improve the making and preservation processes for the vaccine, by isolating the vaccinal virus from flea waste.
1935 Resumed studies on animal smallpox that he had commenced in Greece ; developped a vaccine against sheep pox.
1937 Mission to French Equatorial Africa (Afrique Equatoriale Française, A.E.F.) where he participated in the opening of the new A.O.F. Pasteur Institute, along with E. Marchoux and C. Mathis ; awarded the Golden Medal from the French Society of Exotic Pathology (Société de Pathologie Exotique, SPE).
1938-1939 Planned a large-scale vaccination campaign against exanthematic typhus in Morocco.
1940 While a minor plague endemic was recorded in the area of Marrakesh, conducted a comprehensive study on the ways of bubonic plague transmission, with M. Baltazard : the endemic form of the human disease appeared to be correlated with the presence of rats and specific skin parasites (infected rat fleas) ; another route of plague transmission was person-to-person contact through infected parasites, which led to human plague epidemic ; recommended preventive measures to fight the human plague.
1947 Was to be made a Commander of the Legion of Honour ; traveled to the Caspian provinces for studying malaria.
1951 (from Oct. to Dec.) Lectured on "vaccination against childhood contagious diseases" within the course organized by The International Center for Childhood, in Paris.
1953 Undertook epidemiological and ecological investigations into two tree populations in the countryside around Casablanca, composed of many small mammals and reptiles with specific parasites ; organized a poliomyelitis vaccination campaign of several thousands children, using a vaccine that he had developped with L.A. Martin, in order to mitigate an emerging epidemic detected in the Medina district, Casablanca.
1955 Mandated by Morocco to attend the International Medical Conference in Verona, Italy ; two other scientists from the Institut Pasteur, P. Giroud and G. Ramon, represented France.
1958-1961 Conducted epidemiological and ecological investigations in the Cherrat forest, Morocco. Elected president of the editorial board of the Maroc Medical review.
1960 Taught at the graduate school of nurses in Casablanca ; named honorary head of laboratory at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, as well as emeritus director of the Pasteur Institute in Casablanca.
1963 On April 13, died in Paris.
Collaborators : : G. Abt, L. Ascione, M. Baltazard, J. Bruneau, L. Caillon, J. Caminopetros, A. Chabaud, Ed. Chatton, J. Chaulin-Servinière ( J. Raynaud ), E. Conseil, A. Cuénod, B. Delage, P. Giroud, Joannidès, B. Kolochine-Erber, M. Langeron, Ch. Lebailly, R. Legroux, E. Lépinay, L.-A. Martin, C. Mélanidi, H. Mollaret, Ch. Nicolle, M. Noury, A. Pietri, M. Stylianopoulo.
Biographical reference tools :
- Blanc (Georges), "Titres et travaux scientifiques du Dr Georges Blanc", Athènes, Imprimerie Française Le Progrès, 1937, 40 p.
- Pasteur Vallery-Radot (Louis), "Georges Blanc (1884-1962)", Bulletin de l'Académie Nationale de Médecine, t. 147, n° 27-28, 1962, pp. 576-580.
Service des Archives de l'Institut Pasteur