Carlos V y la Malaria…una Historia del Siglo XXI

En Septiembre de 1868, durante la llamada Revolución Gloriosa, nuestro Carlos I de España y V de Alemania volvió a ver la luz tras varios años de descanso en su sarcófago, de la mano de un grupo de revolucionarios. Según la leyenda, tras la exhumación, el Marqués de Villaverde sobornó al guarda de la cripta con 20 reales si sustraía un pedazo del emperador, y fue una falange del dedo meñique lo que obtuvo a cambio.

La leyenda termina con un arrepentido marqués confesando a su hermana, la Marquesa viuda de Martorell y de como juntos decidieron escribir a Alfonso XIII. En la carta enviada en Mayo de 1912 relatan que el fragmento del dedo meñique llegó a sus manos de una forma completamente involuntaria un 14 de Septiembre de 1870 y afirman no haber empleado medio alguno para adquirirlo. Alfonso XIII decidió mandar la “reliquia” a El Escorial, donde terminó en una urna de la sacristía, no demasiado lejos de donde se volvió a dar sepultura a la momia del monarca.

momia

El co-protagonista de nuestra historia, Julián de Zulueta, tenía 17 años cuando contempló una fotografía que aún no pierde nitidez en su memoria. En un diario francés aparecía la imagen de un revolucionario español abrazado a una momia altamente conservada, que mantenía la barba y cuyos ojos estaban abiertos. Era el cuerpo momificado de Carlos V, exhumado durante un asalto a El Escorial, en la Guerra Civil Española.

Los diarios franceses quedaron lejos cuando su familia se exilió a Colombia. Allí, el joven Julián estudió medicina y se especializó en medicina tropical y parasitología. Poco a poco se interesó firmemente en la malaria, y sus estudios sobre el paludismo le han llevado a ser asesor de la Organización Mundial de la Salud durante muchos años, y también a no perder de vista a Carlos V.

Los historiadores siempre apuntaron que Carlos V sufría de gota, hasta el punto de no poder escribir sus propias cartas. Pero su muerte fue debida a otra enfermedad,a la malaria que contrajo en Yuste y al desacertado tratamiento con sangrías, que le llevó a la tumba en Septiembre de 1558, con 58 años.

Fue en 1990 cuando el destino trazó una línea recta entre todos los personajes presentados en esta historia. Julián de Zulueta, tras leer un artículo científico en el que se mostraba como hacer estudios de tejidos momificados tras rehidratarlos, no pudo hacer otra cosa que pensar en Carlos V. Y la curiosidad científica no entiende de barreras, por lo que directamente se dirigió a Juan Carlos I y le pidió acceso a la momia de Carlos V, para demostrar que murió de malaria, para encontrar el parásito en su cuerpo.

El rey prefirió dejar tranquilo a Carlos V en su sepultura, que bastante trajín llevaba para lo que una figura de su importancia, ya fallecida, debía tener a las espaldas.

Pero el destino tenía un as en la manga, y la linea recta salpicó al Marqués de Villaverde y a su querida hermana. En el 2004 un alto cargo del Patrimonio Nacional,  informó a Julián de lo ocurrido en la Gloriosa, del arte de los marqueses, y de la decisión de Alfonso XIII. Sin dudarlo ni un momento de Zulueta volvió a contactar con Juan Carlos I, y esta vez el monarca dió luz verde para satisfacer su inquietud.

Ahora solo faltaba un buen laboratorio donde hacer los experimentos en España, y ahí apareció Pedro Alonso, nuestro investigador estrella en malaria. Juntos viajaron a El Escorial y vieron el fragmento del dedo; convencido Pedro Alonso solo quedaba volver a Barcelona e iniciar los experimentos. La falange del dedo, envuelta en su gasa, en su cofre y en su furgón funerario, dejó El Escorial, para ser estudiado en Cataluña.

Con la ayuda de Pedro L. Fernández (patólogo del Hospital Clínic de Barcelona) procedieron a aplicar las técnicas necesarias para re-hidratarlo. Así descubrieron y publicaron en el The New England Jounal of Medicine que efectivamente la artrosis de Carlos V se debía a la gota y después, el plato fuerte, que murió de malaria, publicado en Parassitología.

Hoy día Carlos V sigue en su sitio (esperemos que por mucho tiempo)  como también siguen en su sitio el Marqués de Villaverde y su hermana. Pedro Alonso vive a mitad camino entre Mozambique y Barcelona y en pocos días empezará el ensayo clínico en fase III de su vacuna frente a la malaria. Julián de Zuluaga vive retirado y feliz en Asturias donde se preocupa de la conservación de los osos pardos.

La verdad es que he disfrutao como un enano esta historia, primero enterándome, luego contándola en los bares y ahora dejándola escrita. Porque la curiosidad científica no tiene límites, y en algunas ocasiones, no sólo muestra como funcionan las cosas, sino que además ilumina nuestra historia.

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33 Responses to Carlos V y la Malaria…una Historia del Siglo XXI

  1. ÓsQar says:

    Hola, muy interesante el artículo, aunque como pequeña corrección marginal, te diría que Carlos I no es antepasado de Juan Carlos I, ya que la dinastía de los Austrias acabó en 1700 con Carlos II.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Carlos_segundo80.png

    Saludos

  2. Mapoto says:

    “La verdad es que he disfrutao como un enano esta historia…”

    No diré más. Me encantó.

  3. sonicando says:

    @OsQar: Muchas gracias por la corrección, quería referirme como “anterior en cargo” pero luego no comprobé que fueran del mismo linaje. Ya está corregido en el artículo.

    @Mapoto: Gracias ¡¡

  4. Sophie says:

    Yo también he disfrutado como una enana, chiquillo. ¿Podrías dejar algún enlace a los artículos?
    Por cierto, la próxima vez que alguien diga que los chicos sólo sabéis hablar de fútbol, mujeres y política en los bares le doy la dirección de este artículo :mrgreen:

  5. sonicando says:

    @Sophie: Y y que me alegro de que lo haya disfrutao¡¡

    Aquí el NEJM:
    http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/short/355/5/516

    Aquí el Parassitología:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18412053?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.
    Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

    Por si no sale bien el segundo link :
    Parassitologia. 2007 Jun;49(1-2):107-9.
    PMID: 18412053 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

    Tu da la dirección de sonicando pa tó, chiquilla…

  6. M3 says:

    Te quedó bonito chico!!

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  8. Oscartambién says:

    ÓsQar, discrepo: Juan Carlos I “el Campechano” desciende de Carlos I (V de Alemania),… de hecho desciende de Felipe IV, vía de una hermanastra (http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/María_Teresa_de_Austria) de Carlos II. Cosa distinta es que la dinastía de los Austria hispanos se termine con Carlos II
    Más: http://www.casareal.es/familia/arbol-ides-idweb.html

  9. MaKö says:

    wauuu!! Interesante, sip!!! A mi la historia no me va mucho, pero si hay ciencia por en medio me interesa más jajaja

  10. Myriam says:

    historia interesante, y curioso tema para los bares… jejeje… lo que me hubiera gustado más si la ciencia hubiera rebatido la leyenda.. pero si es cierto es cierto oye, y ahora ya se puede decir con todas las de la ley.
    Te animo a seguir con esta nueva sección porque me parece de lo más interesante

  11. M. Lara says:

    Una puntualización, Juan Carlos I no es descendiente directo de Carlos I pero si es descendiente, puesto que Felipe V (el primer Borbón que reino en España)lo hizo por la falta de descendencia de Carlos II y por descender él de una princesa española de la casa de Austria, luego por via materna si enlazaba con los Austrias e igual su descendiente directo al actual rey.

  12. EC-JPR says:

    Hmmm… Muy interesante, Sonicando. Y muy currada y bien documentada la entrada 🙂 No obstante, me voy a poner en modo mosca cojonera: ¿no se te ha colado un Zuluaga en vez de Zulueta? 😳

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  31. MIRTA says:

    OYE, ESTÁS DE BROMA, NO? QUE EN EL 2004 SE ABRIÓ A CARLOS V? O HE LEÍDO MAL PORQUE TENGO SUEÑO? HOMBRE, LO QUE CUENTAS ES MUY TENTADOR, PERO NO SÉ, NO SÉ… QUE YO SEPA… ALLÍ NO SE ABRIÓ NADA… YO HE ESTADO TRABAJANDO ALLÍ … Y ESO HABRÍA SIDO UN SÚPER BOMBAZO, NO ME LO CREO…

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