William Campbell, Satoshi Omura, Tu Youyou win Nobel Medicine Prize for work on Malaria, parasitic diseases
Ashish Jha, 05 Oct 2015
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Three scientists from Ireland, Japan and China have won the Nobel Prize in medicine for 2015 for their discoveries concerning novel therapies against malaria and infections caused by roundworm parasites.

William Campbell (Ireland), Satoshi Omura (Japan) and Tu Youyou (China) were announced Nobel Prize winners at the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm on Monday, October 5, 2015. While Campbell and Omura were awarded for their discoveries concerning a novel therapy against infections caused by roundworm parasites, Tu was rewarded for her work on a therapy against malaria.  Tu is the 12th woman to get the prize in physiology or medicine.

This year’s Nobel Laureates have developed therapies that have revolutionized the treatment of some of the most devastating parasitic diseases including Elephantiasis and Malaria that affect the world’s poorest populations and represent a huge barrier to improving human health and wellbeing.  Both diseases – Elephantiasis and Malaria, are prevalent in India. “The two discoveries have provided humankind with powerful new means to combat these debilitating diseases that affect hundreds of millions of people annually,” the Nobel Prize committee said.  

William C. Campbell and Satoshi Ōmura discovered a new drug, Avermectin, the derivatives of which have radically lowered the incidence of River Blindness and Lymphatic Filariasis, as well as showing efficacy against an expanding number of other parasitic diseases. Youyou Tu discovered Artemisinin, a drug that has significantly reduced the mortality rates for patients suffering from Malaria.

William C. CampbellWilliam C. Campbell was born in 1930 in Ramelton, Ireland. After receiving a BA from Trinity College, University of Dublin, Ireland in 1952, he received a PhD from University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA in 1957. From 1957-1990 he was with the Merck Institute for Therapeutic Research, from 1984-1990 as Senior Scientist and Director for Assay Research and Development. Campbell is currently a Research Fellow Emeritus at Drew University, Madison, New Jersey, USA.


Satoshi ÅŒmuraSatoshi Ōmura was born in 1935 in the Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan and is a Japanese Citizen. He received a PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences in 1968 from University of Tokyo, Japan and a PhD in Chemistry in 1970 from Tokyo University of Science. He was a researcher at the Kitasato Institute, Japan from 1965-1971 and Professor at Kitasato University, Japan from 1975-2007. From 2007, Satoshi Ōmura has been Professor Emeritus at Kitasato University.


Youyou TuYouyou Tu was born in 1930 in China and is a Chinese citizen. She graduated from the Pharmacy Department at Beijing Medical University in 1955. From 1965-1978 she was Assistant Professor at the China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine, from 1979-1984 Associate Professor and from 1985 Professor at the same Institute. From 2000, Tu has been Chief Professor at the China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine.


“The discoveries of Avermectin and Artemisinin have revolutionized therapy for patients suffering from devastating parasitic diseases. Campbell, Ōmura and Tu have transformed the treatment of parasitic diseases. The global impact of their discoveries and the resulting benefit to mankind are immeasurable,” the Nobel Committee lauded the scientists.


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