Nobel 2015 in Medicine Goes to Campbell, Omura, Malaria Therapy Discoverer Tu

The Nobel Prize 2015 in Physiology that is given to breakthrough in medicine is given to William C. Campbell and Satoshi Ōmura, for their therapy against roundworm parasites while China’s Youyou Tu was given for discovering novel therapy for malaria and she becomes the first Chinese woman to be given a Nobel Prize.


Youyou Tu becomes China’s first woman to win a Nobel Prize in history for her discovery of a new drug to treat malaria.

Mr. Campbell and Mr. Omura won it for “their discoveries concerning a novel therapy against infections caused by roundworm parasites”, as they discovered a new drug, Avermectin, the derivatives of which have radically lowered the incidence of River Blindness and Lymphatic Filariasis.

Youyou Tu discovered Artemisinin, a drug that has significantly reduced the mortality rates for patients suffering from Malaria. The Nobel Prize in Medicine will be distributed as one half jointly to William C. Campbell and Satoshi Ōmura for their discoveries and the other half to Youyou Tu.

“These two discoveries have provided humankind with powerful new means to combat these debilitating diseases that affect hundreds of millions of people annually. The consequences in terms of improved human health and reduced suffering are immeasurable,” said Nobel Prize Committee in its announcement on Monday.

Youyou Tu searched ancient literature on herbal medicine to develop novel malaria drug and she found the plant Artemisia annua to be an interesting candidate, and Tu developed a purification procedure, which rendered the active agent, Artemisinin, a drug that is remarkably effective against Malaria.

Instituted in 1901, the Nobel Prize for medicine has been given to 207 individuals so far, excluding this year’s awardees. It was not awarded during the years 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918, 1921, 1925, 1940, 1941 and 1942 due to world War One and Two. During World War I and II, fewer Nobel Prizes were awarded.

The Nobel Committee sends confidential invitation letters to persons who are competent and qualified to nominate candidates for the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine and follows a rigorous selection procedure.

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