Pharmacologist Tu Youyou became China’s first medicine Nobel laureate when it was announced she was one of three scientists awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their work in developing effective drugs against parasitic diseases.
William C. Campbell and Satoshi Ōmura were recognized for their novel therapy against infections caused by roundworm parasites.
While Tu was honored for developing Artemisinin, a drug therapy for malaria that has saved millions of lives across the globe, especially in the developing world, the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institute disclosed on its website on Monday.
Tu, a Chinese trained pharmacologist and a researcher at the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences in Beijing, would like to go to Oslo, Norway in December to receive her award in person, according to Cao Hongxin, the science and technology department head of the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and former director of the academy.
“She sounded calm and said she has received lots of congratulatory calls,” Cao told China Daily on Monday after he telephoned Tu to congratulate her.
“It’s an overdue honor for Tu and the world’s recognition of TCM,” he said.
Tu was honored for her work in isolating the active ingredient from the plant Artemisia apiacea Hance that protects against the malaria parasite and developing an extraction method for its therapeutic use.
“It was inspired by the ancient TCM classic Manual of Clinical Practice and Emergency Remedies by TCM master Ge Hong of the Eastern Jin Dynasty (AD 317- 340),” Cao said.