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Old fears in the New World: sciences and Venomous Animals in XVI to XIX centuries' Brazil

Grant number: 13/10526-0
Support Opportunities:Regular Research Grants
Duration: October 01, 2013 - September 30, 2016
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Biology
Principal Investigator:Márcia Moisés Ribeiro
Grantee:Márcia Moisés Ribeiro
Host Institution: Instituto Butantan. Secretaria da Saúde (São Paulo - Estado). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated researchers:Hugo Aguirre Armelin ; Osvaldo Augusto Brazil Esteves Sant'Anna


The project's goal is to make a historic of "toxinology" in Brazil between the XVI century and the beginning of the XX century, when the development of microbiology and immunology stimulated researches which culminated in obtaining antisera against poisoning by snakes, among other sera.The starting point for the history of toxinology in Brazil is undoubtedly the work of Vital Brazil Mineiro da Campanha, who in 1903 completed his research on the specificity of anti-plague serum and established a new concept in immunology. Although his findings represent a milestone in the inauguration of scientific studies about toxinology, it is important to emphasize that, before him, there already was a renowned physician interested in experiences about Brazil's native serpents' venoms: Otto Heinrich Wücherer (1820-1873). Thanks to his pioneering studies, today we can have access to the first scientific experiments involving snakes and their venoms in Brazil, making it possible to trace the development of toxinology from the end of the XIX and beginning of the XX centuries. However, for earlier periods, there is a silence and few is known about the history of animal toxins research during the centuries in which Brazil was a Portugal colony and even during the post-Independence period. It is precisely about this very scarcely studied time - XVI to XIX centuries - that we intend to develop this project. As sources for its development, books by chroniclers, travelers, missionaries and handwritten documentation will be utilized. Initially, documental surveys will be made in national and foreign libraries.The results of the researches will be made public through the INCTTOX's website, the portal do professor/MEC and the Banco Internacional de Objetos Educacionais, where we will periodically post articles and original documentation on the topic. Surely, it will be a means of bringing the general public closer to Brazil's early scientific universe. (AU)

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