Vital Brazil Mineiro da Campanha took his name from the date and location of his birth: he was born on St. Vital’s Day in the Minas Gerais city of Campanha on April 28, 1865. He graduated from the Rio de Janeiro School of Medicine in 1891. He then moved to São Paulo, where he practiced medicine in the interior and joined the state’s Sanitary Service. In 1897, he became a researcher at the Bacteriological Institute of São Paulo, where he began researching ophidism. Two years later, he contracted the bubonic plague while fighting the illness in Santos, alongside Oswaldo Cruz. In 1901 he became director of the São Paulo State Serum Therapeutics Institute (now the Butantan Institute), entrusted with producing serum and vaccine against the plague; there he achieved his greatest feat as a scientist, proving the specificity of sera against snake venom. After heading the Butantan Institute for nearly twenty years, he moved to Niterói in 1919, where he founded the Vital Brazil Institute. He died in Rio de Janeiro on May 8, 1950.