Nobel Prize

Parasite busters

Print edition : November 27, 2015

Figure 1: The distribution of some of the most devastating parasitic diseases is quite similar and is collectively shown in blue on the world map. Photo: Illustration by Mattias Karlén/Nobel Committee background document, Physiology and Medicine, 2015

William C. Campbell. Photo: Reuters

Satoshi Omura. Photo: Reuters

Youyou Tu. Photo: AFP

Figure 2: Avermectin modified to Ivermectin, which contained two hydrogenation modifications, turned out to be highly effective in both animals and humans against a variety of parasites. Photo: Illustration by Mattias Karlén/Nobel Committee background document, Physiology and Medicine, 2015

Figure 3: (a) A hand-coloured drawing of qinghao in Bu Yi Lei Gong Pao Zhi Bian Lan (Ming Dynasty, 1591 CE). (b) Artemisia annua L. in the field. Photo: Youyou Tu, Nature Medicine, October 2011

Figure 4: A Handbook of Prescriptions for Emergencies by Ge Hong (284–346 C.E.). (a) A Ming dynasty version (1574 C.E.) of the handbook. (b) “A handful of qinghao immersed with two litres of water, wring out the juice and drink it all” is printed in the fifth line from the right. Photo: Youyou Tu, Nature Medicine, October 2011

Figure 5: A model of artemisinin. Carbon atoms are represented by black balls, hydrogen atoms by blue balls and oxygen atoms by red balls. The Chinese characters underneath the model read Qing Hao Su. Photo: Youyou Tu, Nature Medicine, October 2011

The 2015 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine has been shared by William C. Campbell of the U.S., Satoshi Omura of Japan, and Youyou Tu of China for their separate discoveries in treating deadly parasitic diseases like elephantiasis and malaria.
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