Dr. Abelardo Aguilar was a famous doctor and scientist from the Philippines, born on November 3, 1917, in Iloilo. He was known worldwide for his essential work on a medicine called erythromycin. He found this medicine used to treat severe sicknesses like diphtheria.
Abelardo Aguilar, a renowned physician and pharmaceutical researcher from the Philippines, gained worldwide recognition for his groundbreaking finding of the antibiotic erythromycin. This medication played a crucial role in treating numerous life-threatening diseases and significantly contributed to saving innumerable lives on a global scale.
Dr. Abelardo Aguilar interesting facts
|Full Name||Dr. Abelardo Alonso Aguilar|
|Relationship Status:||Married (Paz Mendoza)|
|Nick Name:||Abelardo Aguilar|
|Date of Birth:||November 3, 1917|
|Birth Place:||Iloilo, Philippines|
|Works at:||Eli Lilly and Company|
|Discovery||Discovery of Erythromycin|
|Spouse Name:||Rose Leal|
|Height:||7 Feet 1 Inch|
|Net Worth:||$500 Million|
|Occupation:||Physician & Chemist|
|Death Date:||September 22, 1993|
Table of Contents
Abelardo Aguilar was born on November 3, 1917 in Iloilo, Philippines. Even as a young boy, he showed keen interest and aptitude for science. 1934 Aguilar enrolled at the University of the Philippines to study medicine. He graduated in 1940 with flying colours, ranking third in his class. Shortly after, Aguilar started his medical career as a physician at the prestigious Philippine General Hospital in Manila.
During his early years, Abelardo Aguilar already demonstrated exceptional intellect and a penchant for scientific subjects. He completed his primary and secondary education in his hometown of Iloilo City. Young Abelardo was fascinated by biology, chemistry, and physics.
He spent hours reading medical journals and science books, developing a zeal for healthcare and research. His parents encouraged his academic interests and supported his dream to become a doctor. This cultivated Aguilar’s aspirations to practice medicine and contribute to innovations in the pharmaceutical field.
In 1946, Abelardo Aguilar married Paz Mendoza. The couple had six children together – Carmen, Abelardo Jr., Evelina, Antonio, and Ma. Paz and Jose. Aguilar came from a middle-class family background in Iloilo. His father worked as a photographer while his mother was a homemaker. Aguilar’s initial schooling was supported by two aunts – Josefa and Florentina Aguilar – who were teachers. They recognized his tremendous potential and intellect at a young age.
In 1934, 17-year-old Aguilar gained admission into the prestigious University of the Philippines College of Medicine. He graduated in 1940, attaining the third rank in his class due to his stellar academic performance. Aguilar’s exemplary medical training at UP prepared him well for an illustrious career in medicine and drug discovery.
Career & Achievements
Aguilar began his medical career at the Philippine General Hospital in Manila as a resident physician in 1940. Over time, he rose to the position of Department of Medicine head. However, his most significant achievement was his groundbreaking investigation into novel antibiotics. In 1949, Aguilar made a remarkable breakthrough by successfully extracting erythromycin from the bacteria Saccharopolyspora erythraeid found in Filipino soil.
Erythromycin demonstrated exceptional antibiotic properties, successfully treating fatal illnesses such as diphtheria, pneumonia, rheumatic fever, and legionellosis. Aguilar’s fortuitous finding of erythromycin marked the advent of a fresh era in antibiotic therapy, ultimately preserving innumerable lives globally. Aguilar’s innovative investigation paved the way for widespread manufacturing of erythromycin worldwide.
Erythrocin, E-Mycin, and Eryc were some of the brand names used by pharmaceutical companies to market it. In 1952, Aguilar founded the Antibiotics Research Laboratory at the UP College of Medicine, where he made continuous progress in the field of microbiology and antibiotics. Throughout his career, Aguilar mentored numerous young researchers, contributing to the establishment of the Philippines as a growing center for pharmaceutical innovation. Over the course of his work, he published more than 43 scholarly research papers, documenting his groundbreaking contributions.
What Is Erythromycin?
Erythromycin is a type of antibiotic medicine used to treat various bacterial infections. Antibiotics are drugs that kill or stop the growth of bacteria, helping our body fight off the infection. Erythromycin is effective against many bacteria and is commonly used to treat respiratory tract infections, skin infections, and sexually transmitted diseases. It can also be used for people who are allergic to penicillin, another type of antibiotic. When taken, erythromycin stops bacteria from growing, which allows the immune system to eliminate the infection.
Awards and Recognition
For his monumental contribution to medicine, Aguilar received widespread recognition both within the Philippines and internationally:
- Elected Member of the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) in 1978
- Received the Distinguished Service Medal from the Philippine Medical Association in 1979
- Awarded the TOYM (The Outstanding Young Men) Award for Medicine in 1959
- Conferred the Republic Cultural Heritage Award in 1987
- Recognized as National Scientist of the Philippines in 1988
- Posthumously received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Philippine College of Physicians in 2006
Reason of Popularity
Abelardo Aguilar became hugely popular due to his accidental discovery of the wonder drug erythromycin in 1949. This was a major medical breakthrough that would impact millions of lives globally. Erythromycin offered an effective cure for deadly diseases like diphtheria, syphilis, and legionnaires, which previously had very high mortality rates.
It became widely known as a “life-saving” antibiotic. Aguilar’s serendipitous finding helped establish the Philippines’ reputation as an emerging pharmaceutical research and innovation hub. He demonstrated that world-class drug discovery could originate from a developing country. His fame also arose from the ubiquity of erythromycin. It became among the most commonly prescribed antibiotics worldwide under numerous commercial brands.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Dr. Abelardo Aguilar, a renowned Filipino doctor, made a significant contribution to global healthcare through his groundbreaking discovery of erythromycin. This chance finding of a potent antibiotic not only saved numerous lives worldwide but also established the Philippines as a prominent center for medical advancements and pharmaceutical breakthroughs. Dr. Aguilar’s achievements continue to serve as an inspiration for aspiring Filipino researchers and scientists to make a global impact.