Dr. Alphonse Leveran Discoverer of Malaria

Dr. Alphonse Leveran was born on June 18, 1845 in Paris, In his adult life he became an Army surgeon working on the front lines of Algeria. He is regarded as the discoverer of the Malaria parasite. While working in the military the disease that is now known as malaria was a major problem in the Army. Being a surgeon Leveran often had the chance to examine patients with the disease. He came up with extremely accurate clinical details of the virus and studied its anatomic pathology. His goal was to find the causal agent of the disease.

In 1880 Leveran finally discovered the answer. For the past few years Leveran had patiently and ceaselessly studied blood samples from infected soldiers and had found some constant variables, mainly small spore like objects that he saw which floated in the blood, however these “spores” showed no sign of life or movement and Leveran could deduce nothing other than the fact that they must be related to the disease in some way. On November 6, 1880 he saw in the blood sample of a patient what he described as “fill-form elements that move with great vivacity”. By chance Leveran had discovered the malaria parasite in an evolutionary stage which usually only occurs within the anopheles mosquito, from these observations he immediately  decided that he had found the parasite that causes malaria and sent a form to the academy of medicine stating that he had found a “protozoan parasite” that is the cause of malaria.

Leveran’s discovery is invaluable to medical community as his patience and determination found what might not have been found until many years later when newer technology would make it more easily possible. Leveran’s contribution allowed for the Medical community to discover the disease far earlier and also begin to develop treatments and cures far earlier, thus saving thousands of lives.




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