Victor Babe was a Romanian physician, biologist, and one of the earliest bacteriologists. He made early and significant contributions to the study of rabies, leprosy, diphtheria, tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases.
The Romanian universities Babes-Bolyai in Cluj-Napoca and the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Timisoara bear his name.
Born in Vienna (at the time, the capital of the Austrian Empire) as the son of Vincentiu Babes, a Romanian from the Banat region, he studied in Budapest, then in Vienna, where he received his doctorate in science. Attracted by the discoveries of Louis Pasteur, he left for Paris, and worked first in Pasteur's laboratory, and then with Victor André Cornil.
In 1885, he discovered a parasitic sporozoan of the ticks, named Babesia (of the family Babesiidae), and which causes a rare and severe disease called babesiosis. In the same year, he published the first treatise of bacteriology in the world, Bacteria and their role in the histopathology of infectious diseases, which he co-authored with Cornil.
Babes's scientific endeavours were wide-ranging. He was the first to demonstrate the presence of tuberculous bacilli in the urine of infected patients. He also discovered cellular inclusions in rabies-infected nerve cells. Of diagnostic value, they were to be named after him (Babes-Negri bodies).
Babes was one of the founders of serum therapy, and was the first to introduce rabies vaccination to Romania. His work also had a strong influence upon veterinary medicine, especially concerning prophylaxis and serum medication.He became a professor of pathology and bacteriology at the Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Bucharest. He was also a member of the Romanian Academy (in 1893), of the Paris Academie Nationale de Medecine, and an officer of the French Legion d'honneur.His nephew, Aurel Babes, was also a physician, and discovered a screening test for cervical cancer.