3 scientists share Nobel Prize for medicine for work on parasitic diseases

Three scientists have been awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize for physiology and medicine for their breakthrough discoveries that led to the anti-microbial and anti-parasitic treatment of certain tropical diseases.


The result was the drug, Avermectin, which has radically lowered the incidence of River Blindness and Lymphatic Filariasis and has been effective against a number of other parasitic diseases. “She submitted herself as the first human subject to test the drug”, the Nigerian expert said, noting Artemisinin, which she (Tu) discovered, has significantly reduced the mortality rates for patients suffering from malaria. But, Omura and Campbell have created the drug avermectin, which gained a lot of success in eradicating the diseases, blindness and lymphatic filarisis, from the planet. In particular, parasitic diseases affect the world’s poorest populations and represent a huge barrier to improving human health and wellbeing.

After decades of limited progress, the discoveries of these new drugs dramatically changed the situation.

A 2010 study found that Artemisinin is estimated to reduce childhood deaths from Malaria by 30 percent more than quinine.

There have been several previous Nobel Prizes for malaria research, including the 1902 award to British army surgeon Ronald Ross, who discovered the disease is transmitted by mosquitos.

A few say their best thinking happens when on the golf course, and for Japanese Nobel laureate Satoshi Omura, that statement couldn’t be more true.

Mrs Tu also said that it was not her “personal achievement” but an award for “all Chinese scientists”.

Emeritus Satoshi Omura attends a press conference at the university in Tokyo, Monday, October 5, 2015 after learning he and two other scientists from Ireland and China won the Nobel Prize in medicine.

It’s Nobel week, so stay tuned on Tuesday when the victor of the Nobel Prize in physics is announced, and on Wednesday for the chemistry victor.

Campbell showed that a component of one of the cultures discovered by Omura was effective against parasites in domestic and farm animals, according to the release.

Campbell is a parasite biologist who worked for the Merck Institute for Therapeutic Research, and is Research Fellow Emeritus at Drew University in New Jersey. “It is of great significance for the fight against malaria and other infectious diseases, and for protecting the health of the world’s people”, Tu said.


Trinity Professor in Zoology Celia Holland who nominated Professor Campbell for his Trinity honorary degree added “All of us in zoology are immensely proud of Professor Campbell for winning the Nobel prize”. From a large-scale screen of herbal remedies in malaria-infected animals, an extract from the plant Artemisia annua emerged as an interesting candidate. No date has been set yet for the literature prize, but it is expected to be announced on Thursday.

Jan Andersson Juleen Zierath and Hans Forssberg members of the Karolinska Institute Nobel committee talk to media at a press conference in Stockholm Monday Oct. 5 2015. The Nobel judges awarded the prize to Irish-born William Campbell Satoshi Omura