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Official Master > Master projects

Marc Estapé Egea
L'institut Ravetllat-Pla durant la postguerra civil espanyola. Reinventant la seroteràpia
Supervisor/s: Jorge Molero Mesa, Isabel Jiménez Lucena
Date of defense: 07-09-2011

The aim of this work is to contribute to the historical understanding of the not much studied 1940s serotherapy. In order to tackle how serotherapy changes according to new contexts, our case study explores the production of “Hemo‐antitoxin” and “Ravetllat‐Pla Serum” by physician Ramon Pla I Armengol and veterinarian Joaquim Ravetllat I Estech in the Ravetllat‐Pla Institute, founded in 1923. The Ravetllat‐Pla Institute historical case study has allowed us to analyze the distinct contexts where the different processes and mechanisms constituting the medical discourse throughout the 20th century take place. The aim of the Ravetllat‐Pla Institute was to legitimate a bacteriological theory regarding tuberculosis which was not accepted by the official medical community. When Barcelona fell in the hands of Franco’s army, Núria Pla I Monseny (1918‐2011) took over the management of the Ravetllat‐Pla Institute, yet the economic and industrial situation was so precarious that she was under the risk of having to cease operating. We show the elements that allow the Ravetllat‐Pla Institute survive by using a serotherapy that was already becoming obsolete before the new therapies put into play. We will see how the social and economic context of Franco’s regime and Ramon Pla’s exile affect the Institute. We will also analyze the adaptability of the Ravetllat‐Pla theory and the role played by the previously established transnational network in Latin America and parts of Europe in the recovery of the Ravetllat‐Pla Institute. In this sense, we characterize this adaptability through three different aspects: the transformation of the organizational model of the Ravetllat‐Pla Institute; the adaptation of the Ravetllat‐Pla theory; and the re‐conceptualization of “Hemo‐antitoxin” together with the development of two new products, the “Hemo‐ polivit” and “Hemotonil”. The capability of the Ravetllat‐Pla Institute to adapt to the adversities of the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, achieving sales at the national and international levels and spreading the Ravetllat‐Pla theory allowed the Institute to carry on in 1939.