A Massachusetts man has been awarded one of the most coveted honors in the world: a Nobel Prize. Among the winners: William C. Campbell of Drew University in Madison N.J., for his work on the roundworm parasite. Tu is the first Chinese medicine laureate and the 12th female medicine laureate. She discovered artemisinin. Artemisinin is a drug that has sharply lowered the number of people who die from malaria.
This photo taken in the 1980s released by Xinhua News Agency on…
Kitasato University Prof. Emeritus Satoshi Omura arrives for a…
Tu was awarded the 2015 Nobel prize in Physiology or Medicine “for her discoveries concerning a novel therapy against Malaria”.
Half of the 8 million krona ($957,888) prize will be given to Tu, with the rest split evenly between Campbell and Omura. However, at the press briefing today, Nobel assembly members insisted the prize does not reward traditional Chinese medicine, but instead “a person who was inspired by traditional medicine” to make a modern drug. “Treatment with avermectin has [since] become so successful that river blindness and elephantiasis are on the verge of eradication”, says Forssberg.
The citation from the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute, which annually confers the prestigious prizes, states that the “importance of ivermectin for improving the health and wellbeing of millions of individuals with river blindness and lymphatic filariasis, primarily in the poorest regions of the world, is immeasurable”.
“To date MSD is still building on the great work of Professor Campbell by supporting the Mectizan Donation programme which, after 27 years, is still the longest-running disease-specific drug donation programme and public-private partnership of its kind”, MSD said. He told the AP he made his main discovery in 1975 while working at pharmaceutical company Merck. It came from his relatives back in his native Ireland.
“I really wonder if I deserve this”, he said after learning he had won the prize.
Omura, a microbiologist, isolated new strains of a group of bacteria called Streptomyces, and successfully cultured them in the lab. He collected and tested scores of soil samples for Streptomyces, bacteria that produces antibacterial agents and lives in the soil. The compound, which was purified and named Avermectin, was later chemically modified to a more effective form called Ivermectin.
The work that led to the discovery of Artemisinin began in the late 1960s, when China launched a large-scale effort to develop an antimalarial treatment to protect North Vietnamese soldiers from the deadly disease.
River blindness (onchocerciasis), which afflicts at least 25 million people worldwide, causes chronic inflammation in the cornea that ultimately causes blindness. This drug is now given to 400 million people per year across the globe.
On Monday it also earned its Chinese developer, Tu Youyou, a Nobel Medicine Prize.
Tu discovered artemisinin, a drug derived from a Chinese herb that has been on the front line of fighting malaria.