By helping the Cantacuzino Institute, we help ourselves!

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This real bulwark for our immune system is a much more important place than anyone thinks.
“Satan’s smoke” has reached here as well, and the institute has been made to produce almost no vaccines. We draw attention to the fact that ANYONE may need the help of the institute and, if bird flu and others seem to have been invented epidemics, there are many other real and terrible diseases that can affect anyone… Even those who plan to destroy this place of Romanian genius.

Please, save the Cantacuzino Institute to save yourself!

For those who want to steal something necessarily – please (at least) steal something else, not the institute!

Leo Radutz
AdAnima Academic Society

Hotnews report

The ghost that haunts the Cantacuzino Institute
by Vlad Mixich
Sunday, 19 September 2010, 20:29 News | Essential

The Phantom of the Cantacuzino Institute

The dead man’s head is seen only when the strong wind lifts the orphaned paper from a corner to its place on the door. From the only window, open at the farthest end of the aisle, footsteps can be heard. I walk through the long space, passing the hollowed tin cabinets on which someone wrote with a blue pen “VIBRIO” and a brown one “CHOLERA”. In the semi-darkness of the aisle, only the agile silhouette of a young man can be discerned. He stops at the door and sticks back the corner of the paper (above the grinning skull it says “Toxic substances”). He pulls on a pair of surgical gloves with a viscous slap and enters the lab.

The brief information:

* The Cantacuzino Institute was founded by royal order in April 1921. 40 years after its establishment, in 1961, 174 biological products, vaccines and serums were manufactured there. In September 2010, the Cantacuzino Institute produces only one vaccine and several consumables for analysis laboratories. Read below the story of the creation and sale of Romania’s most important medical institute.

* The only time when there was official talk about the dissolution of the Cantacuzino Institute was in 2005 when, in a meeting of the Health Commission of the Chamber of Deputies, the director at that time accused the Ministry of Health of favoring multinational pharmaceutical concerns and warned about real estate interests that hunt the valuable land on which the Institute is built.

* The plan to disband the Institute called for it to be restricted to a few research departments, but a high-level intervention temporarily blocked the implementation of this plan. You can find out below who is the senior official who intervened.

* The way the Cantacuzino Institute is organized, the fact that the State is its most important business partner and the bureaucratic and financial blockage in the medical system have brought today the Cantacuzino Institute to the brink of bankruptcy. describes the mechanisms by which this came about.

* About those responsible for the bankruptcy of the Cantacuzino Institute reigns a real law of whispers: there is talk around corners, but no one dares to pronounce names. Even the institutions of the Romanian state are reluctant to address the subject. Health Minister Cseke Atilla did not respond to a request for an interview on the subject (although it was sent two weeks ago), and the National Medicines Agency does not provide information on the subject. What the whispers of the Cantacuzinians say, find out in the report below.

* The research department of the Cantacuzino Institute was brought to the brink of collapse through underfunding. But in August 2010, a team of Cantacuzini researchers managed to win funding that could save the Institute. Keep reading their story.

Among all the devices and test tubes, Catalin Tucureanu moves with the certainty of a professional criminal. She is 25 years old, has 1000 lei per month, has a secondary passion for climbing and a main one for anti-infective immunology. Catalin works at Romania’s most famous research institute, the Cantacuzino Institute, and doesn’t look at all like you’d expect a nerdy scientist to look like. His shiny black hair reaches almost to his waist and looks a bit like Winnetou: the same red skin tan, the same figure chiseled on a short, thin body. After pipetting a substance into test tubes the size of a child’s little finger, press the power button on the centrifuge machine. Nothing happens. A new press on the button above which it says “Donation Institut Pasteur”. Again nothing. He spins some plugs that didn’t make contact, until the machine starts buzzing. While waiting for the 90 seconds of spinning to pass, Catalin looks through the dirty window at the nearby People’s House. That’s where the rescue of the Cantacuzino Institute has been expected for 20 years.


It was the spring of 1961 when Elvira Ciufecu, a 27-year-old doctor, saw the Institute for the first time. Impeccable cleanliness reigned in the alleys between buildings, roses were planted everywhere and several towering chestnut trees shaded the inner courtyard and lawn on which some gorgeous peacocks walked.* At that time the Institute prepared 174 products and 40 years had passed since Professor Ioan Cantacuzino had founded, by royal order,

Ioan Cantacuzino was born in 1863 and died in 1934, wishing by will to be buried within the Institute he founded. Cantacuzino obtained two degrees at the Sorbonne: one in Letters and the other in Natural Sciences. At the age of 31 he became a Doctor of Medicine of the same Parisian university, after working for 5 years at the Pasteur Institute in Paris.
In 1901, a department was created especially for him within the Faculty of Medicine in Bucharest. Here, until 1921, the date of establishment of the Institute, he prepared vaccines against typhoid fever, cholera, diphtheria, etc. In 1926, Romania became the second country in the world to introduce BCG vaccination in children against tuberculosis.
Professor Cantacuzino was a member of the Romanian Academy, of the Academy of Medicine in Paris, of the Medical Academy of Belgium, of the Academy of Rome and commander of the Legion of Honor. He was Doctor Honoris Causa of the universities of Brussels, Athens, Lyon, Bordeaux and Montpellier.

Institute of Serums and Vaccines.
Although teachers and laboratories no longer lived inside the Institute and no marriages were officiated between colleagues on the lawn with peacocks, as was the case in Professor Cantacuzino’s time, the people who worked there still felt they belonged to a special caste. Because thanks to the Cantacuzino Institute, Romania was the second European country where BCG (anti-tuberculosis) vaccination was practiced in children and also thanks to the Cantacuzino Institute Romanians could get rid of typhoid fever, dysentery, diphtheria or polio. Elvira Ciufecu was part of the last generation that was able to take advantage of Professor Cantacuzino’s legacy, becoming the coordinator of the team that developed one of the last vaccines produced at Cantacuzino, the measles vaccine.

The dark decade of the ’70s destroyed any connection between the Cantacuzino Institute and its older brother in Paris, the Pasteur Institute. International scientific journals no longer reached Bucharest, the best researchers of the Institute used the first opportunity to flee to the West, only in 1972 emigrated an entire section (five top researchers), the one dealing with enterovirosis. In the same year, Professor Cantacuzino’s memorial room was abolished, hosting his library and collection of engravings, one of the most precious in Romania. In the early ’80s, the Institute was still working on the Zeiss and Reichert microscopes left over from the interwar period.

When Elvira left the Institute a few months before December 1989, almost a decade had passed since no new production technology had been initiated. The chestnut trees had been cut down, and on the place where the peacocks were walking, a 7-storey casemate-building appeared in which the last cantacuzine researchers were thinking, clapping over the pile.


It’s the black cat guarding the tomb of Victor Babes, author of the world’s first bacteriology treatise. The scientist is buried in the inner courtyard of the Cantacuzino Institute, at the end of an alley that ends in a parking lot. Professor Cantacuzino is also buried at the Institute, in a crypt located at

Victor Babes is the founder of Romanian bacteriology and lived between 1854 and 1926, his tomb being in the courtyard of the Cantacuzino Institute.
He obtained his doctorate in medicine in Vienna at only 22 years old. At the age of 30 he discovered Babes granulations that allow the identification of diphtheria bacillus. At the age of 32 he published the world’s first Treatise on Bacteriology, awarded at the Academy of Medical Sciences in Paris by Louis Pasteur.

Victor Babes’ tomb is located in the basement of the main building, next to the two directors who succeeded him in office. Among so many famous tombs it was expected that a ghost would haunt the Institute. But it’s not a fake ghost, the ones with white sheets over their heads and “bu-hu-hu” in their vocabulary.

She is real, the traces of her raids are visible, but although everyone mentions her in whispers, no one dares to say her name out loud.

Only once was there open talk about ghost raids. It happened in 2005, during the meeting of the Health Commission of the Chamber of Deputies, when the director of the Institute at that time, Dr. Dorel Radu Lucian, said: “Politics (…) The Ministry of Health that favors one multinational concern or another (we are talking about big pharmaceutical companies, ed.) seals the fate of the Institute. Thus, it becomes possible an action plan that circulated in the Ministry of Health during the former government (reference is made to the Nastase government, ed.), according to which the land on which the Institute is located was to be sold, and the Institute restricted to a few research departments. Being about 4 hectares located in the Cotroceni area, the stakes are quite high. The idea of associating the Institute with various investors or selling it piecemeal was rejected at the intervention of the presidential administration.”

Indeed, in 2003, just a few months before he died, virologist academician Nicolae Cajal together with Professor Andrei Combiescu (director of the Cantacuzino Institute for 13 years, until 2003) requested an audience with the President of Romania. The vaccine production line had been closed at the beginning of the year and, around the corners of test tubes, there was talk of real estate sharks salivating looking out over the huge terrain on the banks of Dambovita. Ion Iliescu, Romania’s president at the time, took into account the intervention of the two professors and, on his direct order, Minister Gabriela Bartos blocked the project. Researchers from the Institute still talk today that “that was the only good thing Ion Iliescu did in his life.”

Professor Cantacuzino thought from the beginning of the Institute as having three roles:
1. that of preparing serums and vaccines useful in the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases;
2. scientific research, necessary for the preparation of new products and the improvement of old ones;
3. epidemiological surveillance of the country.**

The Institute was state-owned and, in order to ensure consistent funding, Professor Cantacuzino helped set up the Romanian Lottery, whose funds supported the fight against tuberculosis.

The organization of the Institute has been maintained until today, except for the way it is financed: if at the beginning of the ’90s it was an autonomous administration, a few years later it became an extrabudgetary institution and, in 2002, when Romania did not yet have a research law, it became a Research Institute. Despite this apparent autonomy, power lies in the pen of politicians: the director of the Institute is appointed by the Minister of Health, the majority of politically appointed representatives of state institutions have the Board of Directors of the Institute, and the Institute’s revenues and expenditures must be approved by order of the Minister of Health, with the approval of the Ministry of Economy. The full responsibility for the good management of the Institute lies with only one man: the director. An ideal arrangement for de-empowering politicians in positions from which they can decisively influence the activity of the Institute, without being involved and through direct responsibility. Currently, the Cantacuzino Institute must finance itself: salaries, investments, maintenance are all paid from the revenues obtained by the Institute by selling the vaccines and injectable products it produces. Or more precisely, which they should produce…

Almost 90 years after its establishment, the Cantacuzino Institute produces in the autumn of 2010 consumables for analysis laboratories and a single vaccine, the seasonal influenza.

On the corridor of the Cantacuzino Institute

Gabriel Ionescu, who has been working in the Cantacuzino Institute for 20 years and has been its director for several months, recalls the dark ’70s:

“At least 20 years before 1989 there was that policy of closing Romania: all imports and access to information were blocked then, and thus a technological gap was reached, with which we entered in 1990. Recoveries have been far too slow and timid, mainly due to lack of funding if we talk about production and related research. New technologies could not be reinvented by existing collectives. We went with old technologies until we couldn’t do it anymore.” And, since the 2000s, Professor Cantacuzino’s legacy has not been able to.

Out of the 10 mandatory vaccines in Romania, the Institute could produce today only one, the anti-tuberculosis vaccine (BCG), in the case of the others, the Institute’s “know-how” and its technology being completely outdated. That’s why other manufacturers are turned to. In addition to the Cantacuzino Institute, the Ministry of Health bought in 2008 vaccines for the National Immunization Program from 6 other pharmaceutical companies. In 2010, the Institute completely disappeared from this list because the National Medicines Agency no longer granted operating authorization for the BCG vaccine production line. Although the modernization process of the BCG line had begun, financed exclusively from the Institute’s funds, the money of the Cantacuzinians ran out and with them the authorization disappeared. Babies born in the first half of 2010 were no longer vaccinated with BCG, but the Ministry solved the problem by using a reserve fund subsidized by UNICEF. Occasion for Health Minister Cseke Atilla to specify that for these doses was paid a price “lower than last year’s (2009, ed.) purchase from Cantacuzino”, although the occasion of such a “deal” is exclusively due to the UNICEF subsidy. If the Cantacuzino Institute does not resume BCG production, the big pharmaceutical companies will not accept such “bad business” in 2011, when Romanians will no longer be able to purchase such a cheap vaccine through UNICEF. Fortunately, the modernization of the BCG line will resume thanks to support funds allocated for this purpose by the Government at the last budget amendment. Although this money was expected for a long time, it appeared only in the fall of 2010. Why is that? As the Ministry of Health is not obliged to finance the activity of the Cantacuzino Institute – the one so “autonomous” -, the answer must be sought to the ghost that haunts the graves of scientists.

But the National Medicines Agency has also lifted the authorization for the production line of another vaccine: seasonal influenza. Almost two months, last spring, the Institute did not produce this vaccine then, thanks to a grant from the World Bank – signed three years ago (!), including a participation from the Ministry of Health – the modernization was completed and production resumed. But the ghost struck again because, although the seasonal flu vaccine can be produced, it cannot yet be packaged according to European norms. Why? Because the modernization of the packaging area was not completed on time. Currently, work is underway there, with the hope that by the end of the year the modernization will be completed, December 2010 being the expiration date of the World Bank financing. If that doesn’t happen, the only solution will be to extend the contract with the World Bank: if they accept it and if the Ministry of Health wants to. But why did three years go by without this money being fully used? If former high officials from the Ministry of Health, on condition of anonymity, attribute the delay of the works to the blocking of the money that the Ministry was supposed to allocate during the mandate of the social-democrat Ion Bazac, the former high officials from the latter’s camp blame the court of the perfect scapegoat: Radu Iordachel, appointed director of Cantacuzino by Ion Bazac and dismissed after 6 months, coming from outside the system, under whose “reign” auctions were tangled and money was spent either on luxury cars or to newly established companies.***

That the Institute could not produce anything in 2010 was not enough. The Cantacuzinians were forced by the Court of Auditors to return money to the Ministry of Health. In the autumn of 2009, in the middle of the influenza pandemic, the Institute received an order from the Ministry of Health to manufacture 5 million doses of pandemic influenza vaccine (different from seasonal influenza). The National Medicines Agency grants the authorization for the manufacture of pandemic vaccine (public pressure is huge) in autumn 2009. The Cantacuzinians start the manufacturing process, which includes several stages, the vaccine existing simultaneously in various stages of production, but in January 2010, only three months after granting the authorization, the National Medicines Agency reverses its decision, suspending production. The contract between the Institute and the Ministry was thus cancelled halfway through and approximately 2 million doses, in various stages of production, could not be delivered. The Cantacuzino Institute was obliged, by a decision of the Court of Auditors, to return the money to the Ministry of Health and remained with uncovered production expenses. “For a month, if we still had authorization, we could finish that money and that money remained ours and we no longer had to go to the Government with outstretched hands. We also had to finish the modernization facilities and for the future production cycle”, says Gabriel Ionescu, who at that time was not yet director, but “only” microbiologist researcher. We asked the National Medicines Agency for explanations, but it told us, through the secretariat of director Daniel Boda, that it does not provide relations about manufacturers, such as the Cantacuzino Institute, because the Agency is a regulatory institution.

Bloodthirsty, the Phantom struck again. The Institute diagnosed in the autumn of 2009 thousands of cases of pandemic influenza (they appeared daily in the newspaper under the heading “20 more influenza diseases”). For this wave of analyzes, the Cantacuzinians were indebted to the suppliers of reagents. But the Ministry of Health has not yet paid in full for these tests for bureaucratic reasons. In addition, the Cantacuzinians were left without two of their most successful products: the Cantastim and the Polidin. The outdated production lines have not received authorization and investments of several million euros are needed. Until the money is found, Cantastem will be distributed “on piles” from the Institute’s reserves.

In the office of the director of the Cantacuzino Institute there is still Professor Cantacuzino’s former office and a huge samovar. The room is sparsely furnished, a small portrait of the Professor hangs on the wall, and the Phantom haunts under the windows. “Globally we have more debt than we have to collect. The financial situation has two main causes. One is to stop producing products important to our income, such as the flu vaccine, Cantastim, Polidin. The second cause is the general economic and financial blockage in which we were unwittingly trapped. The beneficiaries of our products are the medical units belonging to the Ministry of Health or financed by the National Health Insurance House. They didn’t have money to pay for the merchandise we delivered to them, we didn’t have money to pay our suppliers and, lo and behold, things got stuck. On paper we have money to receive, we have money to give, but it does not exist physically. Some suppliers became impatient, rightly so, and started suing us,” explains Gabriel Ionescu, the current director.

In the Institute’s laboratories they sizzle many substances and boil many whispers. But if you ask directly who is that Phantom who managed to turn Professor Cantacuzino’s legacy into a caricature… The current director, Gabriel Ionescu, is in too delicate a position to answer. Radu Iordachel, the designated scapegoat, cannot be reached by the press. Former director Dorel Radu Lucian (who still works at the Institute), the only one who spoke publicly in 2005 about the specter that haunts the Institute, says that those words, typed next to his name in the minutes of the Health Commission meeting, do not belong to him, but to his deputy director at that time. The latter says he changed his mind about his statements at the time, which cannot be attributed to him anyway because the official document does not certify him as their originator.

This pernicious whisper that blames the collapse of the Institute on real estate and financial interests far more powerful than the Cantacuzini researchers is explicable. Before holding a temporary leadership position, all these people do science. They are microbiologists, virologists, they study bacteria and all sorts of dangerous diseases. Their guild is small and their professional development depends on funds controlled by various state institutions. Even if the research project they are working on is funded with Japanese or Australian money, sooner or later they will still run into a Romanian official much more powerful than them, those who know how to tame deadly viruses. And this world, whispered, is good for the Phantom that haunts the Cantacuzino Institute. Anything and anyone who gets a name can be controlled. It’s just that this Phantom has no name.


There is, however, a wonderfully renovated building within the Institute. The laboratories are well equipped with modern equipment, the corridors are lit and the plaster is in place on the walls. They are the National Reference Centres, Romania’s epidemiological fire brigade unit: there can be diagnosed any disease that occurs in Romania, no matter how rare and dangerous it may be. Here is continued Professor Cantacuzino’s desire to epidemiologically supervise the country.
Being a unit of great interest for the World Health Organization and having a profile that can easily attract funding, the National Reference Centers were modernized in 2005 with PHARE funds. But it seems that they will soon come out from under the supervision of the Institute and, although the building cannot be moved entirely from the Cantacuzina courtyard, what is essential is the magnetism that these laboratories have for various funding.

High-level sources in the Ministry of Health believe that the membership of these laboratories at the Cantacuzino Institute can be likened to “too mixed a marmalade”. The possibility of them being subordinated to the National Institute of Public Health, where Alexandru Rafila was director, is being considered. Director since the early 2000s in the Ministry of Health and colleague of Ion Bazac, Rafila became his personal adviser when Bazac was appointed Minister of Health. Currently, Alexandru Rafila is a member of the Board of Directors of the Cantacuzino Institute and a member of the National Committee of Vaccinology. “In no country in the civilized world do public health and vaccine production functions work in an R&D institution. If you look at the status of these R&D institutions (there is a law of these institutes in general) it does not refer to large-scale production, but to small production for research purposes. It does not refer to a factory production. For example: The Cantacuzino Institute makes flu vaccine. We vaccinate the population with influenza vaccine, after which a study of the effectiveness of vaccination is done. Where to test this study? At the reference laboratories that are also at the Cantacuzino Institute? The body that checks the quality of a product cannot be the same as that which produces it. It is a conflict of interest,” says Alexandru Rafila.

At the beginning of the year, Academia Catavencu published some “gossip, smen, sesame” about Alexandru Rafila, in which he was presented as a gray eminence of the medical system and a good connoisseur of the interests in the pharmaceutical industry. Although Catavencu journalists promised more consistent disclosures, there was no sequel. However, it is written in his declaration of assets that, during 2008-2009, Alexandru Rafila held several presentations at events organized by large multinational companies in the pharmaceutical industry. About his relationship with these companies, Alexandru Rafila says that: “I have strictly professional ties, as any teacher has and, if I made a presentation of a product, at some point, it was transparent. Of course we do presentations, everybody makes presentations. I, in one year, earned 3000 lei from things like that. There are no conflicts of interest, no legal issues.”


After working for a few minutes over the open flame of a Bunsen bulb (a tall, ghostly blue flame), Catalin Tucureanu’s forehead is wet as after rain. He hurriedly leaves the lab room for the pleasant coolness in the hallway. A few steps to the exit and press the doorknob of another door. When she sees Catalin, the head of the Anti-Infective Immunity Laboratory, Aurora Salageanu, starts laughing: “When I sat and worked the Cantastem for hours, my eyebrows burned from the flame.” Catalin sits down on the chair next to his boss’s chair and, with a pen, begins to fill in table headings. “Why do we need the same table in two places but with different words. I don’t understand that!” explodes Salageanu. He has fine glasses and launches his words quickly, so as not to lose track of his thoughts. The workroom is the size of a block kitchen, maybe a little bigger. Four shelves on the walls, two of which are with files of documents. From this place, not from under the marble of the People’s House, came this summer the salvation of the Cantacuzino Institute.

Aurora Salageanu speaks beautifully about Catalin, but when he is not present she begins to speak with admiration. Salageanu coordinates a team of young researchers (Catalin being the youngest) with remarkable results. They have to be good, they have nowhere to go. Catalin, for example, is paid only from research contracts won. Does he have ideas, does he know how to explain them, does he also have papers published in important journals? That’s when they win contracts.

In 1886, in Paris, the Pasteur Institute is founded with funds obtained from the donations of personalities of the time but also of the public delighted by the great success of vaccinations. 2000 million francs were raised then.
In 1921, 35 years later, on the same model, the Cantacuzino Institute is founded in Bucharest. Professor Cantacuzino supported the establishment of the Romanian Lottery, whose benefits were used to combat tuberculosis.
In June 2010, the Cantacuzino Institute opens an account requesting donations for refurbishment and modernization. For now, these accounts are empty.

Donation timeline

Contracts mean money: for a laptop, for substances and reagents, for a device they only dreamed of. They recently bought a high-performance microscope where they can film the development cycle of cells. The problem was that they no longer had the money to buy a special incubator for the microscope that, by heating, would speed up cell division. But the novel is inventive and Catalin bought from the market four devices that he tinkered with for some time, turning them into incubators, with which he now heats the entire room where the microscope is. Luckily it’s no bigger than a closet. Catalin goes to the next “closet” to check how the cell cultures have grown. On the electron microscope monitor, you can see large, ugly gray round spots. “Amazing how big they are. There’s something strange about them, I don’t know what, that I gave them food as usual. Look at this: it’s huge!” and the young man looks fascinated at the cells he feeds daily, like a farmer taking care of his animals.

He turns around and Salageanu looks at him with spite: “This is what I do all day, I fill in tables, RE indicators, FP… hell… Only science I don’t have time for.” Research projects come with a misfortune: lush bureaucracy. Before getting into “this madness”, Salageanu had no idea what a motto was. Now they fill in several per month (they currently have 9 projects in progress) and in them they have to justify everything they buy: “We did research to see where we could find the cheapest rollers, because if we took the most expensive one they would ask us < <Why did you get the most expensive one?>> Once we switched to a revolver – that’s a microscope component – and the note came back: < >”. At lunch, Catalin pulls two pretzels out of a net and Salageanu pulls out more sandwiches and fruit: “Come on, eat. That until 8 we don’t leave here.” There are only a few days left until they sign the project contract. PROJECT!

Before submitting the Project, the entire team worked for a week non-stop, as if in a delirium. At two o’clock at night, on the day when the deadline expired, Catalin pressed the “send” button and, immediately in the morning, they drove the Institute to the Ministry. The driver shouts out the window: “Aside we are going to submit the Project!” Salageanu was the first to find out that they had won, via email. He went to the laboratory where Catalin worked and there, while showing him the table, “he cried a little”. The Cantacuzino Institute appeared selected on the first place, winning, through the project written by them, a funding of over 4 million euros (from European structural funds) for the development of the research infrastructure.

The Cantacuzino Institute opened the following accounts for donations in order to finance the refurbishment works of the premises and the purchase of equipment necessary for carrying out the activities:
B.C.R. Sector 5
IBAN account RON – RO60 RNCB 0076 0294 2086 0006
EUR IBAN account – RO25 RNCB 0076 0294 2086 0054
IBAN account RON – RO24 BPOS 8500 702 6544 RON14
EUR IBAN account – RO24 BPOS 8500 702 6544 EUR02

Where you can donate to the Cantacuzino Institute
The casemate building, with its crumbling walls, broken elevator and decades-old neons, can be renovated and equipped in a civilized manner. On the site of the former lawn, where in Professor Cantacuzino’s time peacocks walked, Cantacuzino researchers will also be able to walk their thoughts again.


What was chosen in 2010 out of the three roles conceived for the Institute by Professor Cantacuzino, 90 years ago? The production of vaccines and other substances is bankrupt. Epidemiological surveillance will most likely be severed from the Institute. As for research, it struggled until recently to survive in old-fashioned laboratories and buildings destroyed by weather and carelessness. But now there is hope again.

The nameless ghost almost succeeded in destroying the Institute, and would have succeeded without the ultimate inspiration of Professor Cantacuzino. His will, in which he stated that he wished to be buried in the crypt of the Institute, protected his wonderful creation for almost a century. For it is almost impossible to build a shopping mall or an office building over the tomb of the Romanian scientist whose bust is placed in the main hall of the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva.

But this was probably the Professor’s last successful magic. In the future, the Institute needs new rescuers. And there is hope of finding them. “I don’t know why I’m still sitting here?” sometimes asks Catalin Tucureanu, the young man with the allure of an Apache Indian. “There are so many things I hate about this country. If I didn’t have a sister already settled in Bucharest, I wouldn’t be able to live on my salary. Sure, I’m going to go to an internship outside, but I’m not going to and I don’t want to leave completely. I’ve always wanted to do research and ended up doing immunology. I love it and I want to do it here. Why? I don’t know. I have a grandmother who asks me, “Are you into gongs again?” But my other grandmother keeps waiting for me to discover the cure for rheumatism.”

*The description is mentioned in a letter of Elvira Ciufecu published in the volume “Prestigious personalities of the Cantacuzino Institute” (by Anca Israil, ed. Asclepios, 2009).
** King Ferdinand signs, on April 4, 1921, the Special Law establishing the Institute of Serums and Vaccines.
Such information was published throughout 2010 in the central press. Radu Iordachel could not be reached by the time of publication.

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Article taken from

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