Adelchi Negri

Born 1876
Died 1912

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Italian physician, pathologist, and microbiologist, born August 2, 1876, Perugia; died February 19, 1912, Pavia.

Biography of Adelchi Negri

Adelchi Negri was born in Perugia and studied medicine and surgery at Pavia University. While still a student he was assistant to Camillo Golgi (1843-1926) at the institute of pathology. He graduated 1900 and became Golgi's assistant. He was habilitated as lecturer in general pathology five years later, and in 1909 was appointed professor of bacteriology, thus becoming the first official teacher of that subject in Pavia. He became professor extraordinary in 1910.

Negri's first works were on histology, haematology, cytology, protozoology, and hygiene. From 1899 to 1902 he worked mainly on the structure of red blood corpuscles and the origin of blood platelets as well as the cytology of glandular structures in mammals and the changes which took place in blood elements during clotting.

In 1903, on the advice of Golgi, Negri began histological research to clarify the aetiology og rabies. On March 27, 1903, he announced to the Pavia Medical Society his fundamental scientific contribution of the rabies corpuscles - Negri's bodies. He was soon was able to see and demonstrate that the bodies which bear his name were a constant feature in the nervous system in animals and man infected with the disease.

Negri mistakenly regarded the bodies as parasitic protozoa and the pathological agent of rabies. Some months after Negri's discovery, however, Alfonso Di Vesta in Naples, and Paul Remlinger at Riffat Bey in Constantinople, showed that the etiological agent of rabies is a filterable virus.

Other contributions included work on bacillary dysentery, and his demonstration that vaccinia virus passed through bacterial filters then in use. During the last years of his life he became particularly interested in malaria and took a very active role in endeavours to eliminate it from Lombardy.

In 1906 Negri married his colleague Lina Luzzani and six years later, at the age of thirty-five, died of tuberculosis.

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