Both diseases are caused by parasitic worms, which infect vast numbers of people in Asia and Africa.
With their discovery, Kajita and McDonald helped prove that neutrinos must have mass, thereby changing “our understanding of the innermost workings of matter”, the Nobel committee said.
Campbell is an Irish parasitologist and biochemist at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey.
Tu, 84, has been chief professor at the China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine since 2000.
Campbell and Satoshi Omura have been chosen for coming up with a new drug, Avermectin, which can effectively control the incidence of river blindness and lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis). The World Health Organization has been trying to treat these conditions since 1987. The Los Angeles Times reports that almost 400 million doses of artemisinin are administered each year, while 300 million people are given ivermectin around the world annually.
Youyou Tu of China looked at traditional Chinese medicine to discover arteminisin.
“I wonder if it’s really OK for me to win the prize”, the Japan’s public broadcaster NHK quoted Omura as saying. The new drug was discovered after Tu’s research into herbal remedies for treating malaria.
When asked if he enjoyed the game of golf that lead him to discover a key component in the antiparasitic drug, Omura grinned and said yes. It’s so widely used across the world that there’s a risk of resistance problems. Five years ago he moved to North Andover, Mass.
In an exclusive interview with Xinhua in the Nigerian capital Abuja, the expert described Tu as “a very renowned, hardworking woman who has done a number of researches, including a research on schistosomiasis, and got a breakthrough on a few of the drugs that are being used now”.
Dr. Tu’s discovery has improved treatment of malaria patients, significantly reducing mortality rates from the disease. Omura also became the 23rd Japanese Nobel Prize victor.
On October 5, the Nobel Assembly announced that Chinese national Tu Youyou had been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
“This is indeed a glorious moment”, said Li Chenjian, a vice provost at prestigious Peking University.
Artemisinin, known in Chinese as Qinghaosu, is derived from a Chinese herb called Artemisia annua.
Stephen Ward, deputy director of Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, said that until artemisinin and combination therapies were available, “we faced an absolute catastrophe”.
“Nobel Prize, good. More worldwide achievements recognised globally represent China’s rise”, read one post on Sina Weibo, a Chinese version of Twitter.
Professor Campbell is the third Trinity graduate to have been awarded a Nobel Prize, joining physicist E.T.S. Walton for splitting the atom, and Samuel Beckett for his contribution to literature.
The peace prize will be awarded in Oslo on Friday, with the economics prize wrapping up the Nobel season next Monday.