Tu, the 13th woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize, discovered the drug Artemisinin that has significantly reduced mortality rates in people suffering from Malaria.
Tu’s malaria treatment made her the first scientist from China to win a Nobel in medicine. Both diseases are caused by parasitic worms, which infect vast numbers of people in Asia and Africa. ‘The consequences in terms of improved human health and reduced suffering are immensurable’. He is now working as a Fellow Emeritus at the Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. He is professor emeritus at Kitasato University in Japan. Campbell, an expert in parasite biology, obtained the bacteria from Omura and found that it produced a substance that was very effective against parasites in animals. The new drug was discovered after Tu’s research into herbal remedies for treating malaria.
“Treatment is so successful that these diseases are on the verge of eradication, which would be a major feat in the medical history of humankind”, the Nobel committee said.
On the other hand, Lymphatic Filariasis, also known as elephantiasis, causes irreversible disfiguring of the legs, reported the World Health Organization. Lymphatic filariasis, which affects more than 120 million people, causes chronic swelling.
Tu, a Chinese citizen, has been at the China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine since 1965.
The Chinese government team’s discovery came at a crucial time in the fight against malaria.
She is credited with the discovery of an active compound in the leaves of the sweet wormwood plant – long used in traditional Chinese medicine.
Dr Colin Sutherland, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said it was immensely gratifying that the achievements in tackling these important diseases had been recognised.
“The writing is on the wall already”.
Still, artemisinin resistance has already been confirmed in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
All Nobel prizes are special, but this one particularly so. “This was a great choice by the Nobel Committee”.
The other half of the prize honoured Omura and Campbell for “a new class of drugs with extraordinary efficacy against parasitic diseases”, the Nobel statement said.
“This is indeed a glorious moment”, said Li Chenjian, a vice provost at prestigious Peking University.
“It indicates that the research science of the Chinese traditional medicine have won high attention from the internal science community”. “The resulting benefit to mankind [of the treatments] is immeasurable”, Forssberg said at a news conference in Stockholm where the prizes were announced.
The Carter Center called the three laureates “heroes in the truest sense of the word, saving lives through medicine”.
A separate ceremony is held for the peace prize on the same date in Oslo, which Nobel wanted to include in his initiative because Norway and Sweden were joined in a union when he created the prizes.