Achille Sclavo (1861-1930) was a scientist, entrepreneur, public health expert, teacher and a prominent public figure in the fight against infectious diseases. Many areas of late-19th century Italy suffered from hygienic and sanitary conditions similar to those of developing countries today. Dr. Sclavo was the first in Italy to scientifically and systematically address the causes of this underdevelopment, such as infectious diseases, poor hygienic conditions, ignorance, poverty and malnutrition.
This desire and dedication to improve collective health conditions and debilitate infectious diseases, especially in the least privileged members of the population, led him to advocate vaccinations, health education, hygiene and the building of schools and hospitals all over Italy, but especially in Siena, his adopted hometown.
Dr. Sclavo completed his work by founding the Istituto Sieroterapico e Vaccinogeno Toscano “Sclavo” in Siena in 1904. The Sclavo company not only contributed decisively to the campaign against infectious diseases worldwide but it has led the city of Siena to become a major player in global vaccinology. Dr. Sclavo’s philanthropic and social efforts are less known but no less important; he was a passionate supporter of what is today considered a non-profit model.