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Work on Parasitic Diseases Receives Nobel Prize for Medicine

nobel prize for medicine 2015
Posted: October 4, 2015 at 10:20 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

The medicines they helped in developing are tribute in the lives of millions of people. Now, three researchers based in United States, China and Japan have bagged the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Along with the winners is William C. Campbell from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, for his work on roundworm parasite.

Campbell was born in Ireland. He shares half of the Nobel Prize with Satoshi Omura from Kitasato University, Japan, who made his study of the same parasite. While the other half of the award was given to Youyou Tu from the China Academy of Traditional Medicine in Beijing, China, for her research in developing therapies in curing malaria.

nobel prize for medicine 2015

A screen shows the 2015 Nobel laureates for Physiology or Medicine including China’s Tu Youyou, Japan’s Satoshi Omura and Irish-born William Campbell (R to L). By news.xinhuanet.com

All together, the three “have changed how parasitic ailments are treated,” according to the committee of the Nobel Prize. “The worldwide effect of their discoveries and the resulting advantage to mankind are immense.”

The three researchers were born during the 1930s, and most of their main research was published in the 1980. And their discoveries came after thorough searchers for existing natural element that may help fight against the diseases.

As Omura is working in Japan, he segregated novel strains of streptomyces bacteria from samples of soil that doesn’t only had antibacterial properties, yet also had the likelihood of combating harmful microorganisms.

While in the U.S., Campbell investigated the Omura’s streptomyces cultures’ effects and has found out that, as what the Nobel committee says, “A component from one of the cultures was significantly proficient in killing parasites among domestic and farm animals.”

The said active compound is referred as “avermectin,” which was developed further and become “ivermectin.” Now it is used all over the world in protecting animals and people from a wide range of parasites, from river blindness to elephantiasis (lymphatic filiariasis).

“I humbly recognize this prize,” Omura said when she received a call from the Nobel committee last Monday. “There are a lot of researchers in the world who are doing significant work, I must have been very, very lucky!” he added.

Tu on the other hand revolutionized ancient techniques in fighting malaria. From Chinese traditional herbal medicine to purify and isolate a component from Artemisia annua plant that could combat malaria in people and animals.

To be exact, the three amazing researchers will share the $960,000 cash prize with one half to Campbell and Omura and the other goes to Tu, based on the report from The Associated Press. Each of them will receive a diploma and a gold medal too during the award ceremony in December.