The animation Carlos Chagas, which features the paths taken by the scientist until the discovery of Chagas disease, has just got a version in English. Available on the Internet, the episode is part of the series, Ciência em Gotas (Science in Drops), an initiative of the Casa de Oswaldo Cruz (COC/Fiocruz), which features the journey of Brazilian scientists with relevant activities in the field of public health and the environment. The original in Portuguese was launched in 2016.
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During his trips to Minas Gerais, in the first decades of the 20th century, Carlos Chagas noted that the population in the region was being stricken with an unknown illness. When examining an insect, popularly known as a "kissing bug", common in the stick houses in the countryside of Brazil, the researcher described a new species of trypanosoma, which he named Trypanosoma cruzi in honor of Oswaldo Cruz. On April 14th, 1909, when identifying the parasite in the blood of a child of Lassance (Minas Gerais), Carlos Chagas announced the discovery of the Chagas disease, caused by this protozoan and transmitted by the "kissing bug".
Recognized as one of the most important achievements of Brazilian science, the description of the disease cycle was published in the scientific journal "Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz" (Memoirs of the Oswaldo Cruz Institute). After 111 years of discovery, April 14th, 2020 marked the celebration of World Chagas Disease Day for the first time. Established by the World Health Assembly (WHA) last year, the date aims to mark actions in order to raise awareness around the disease, give visibility to so-called neglected diseases on a global scale and promote universal access as a right.
About “Science in Drops”
The first edition of the series, "Science in Drops", consists of four films, about a minute long, which feature the work of scientists Maurício Rocha e Silva and Sérgio Ferreira and the antihypertensive drug produced from the venom of the Jararaca snake; Carlos Chagas and the discovery of the disease that bears his name; Johanna Dobereiner and the application of a natural fertilizer in the cultivation of several grains; Bertha Lutz and the cataloging of new amphibian species.
With the support of the Cultural Incentive Program of the Municipal Government of Rio de Janeiro, the videos have been produced by Campo4 with the sponsorship of Dominus, Cofix and Calper, the fund management of the Society for the Promotion of Casa de Oswaldo Cruz (SPCOC). Fiocruz's Fundraising Office has been the promoter of partnerships, thus enabling the project.