Nobel Prize in Medicine 2015 - Huge number of people saved in war against miniscule warriors, parasites

This year’s Prize in the discipline Medicine is awarded to William C. Campbell, Satoshi Omura and Youyou Tu.

William C. Campbell, who is Irish but working in USA, and Satoshi Omura, from Japan, habe been given the Prize for their development of the basis for medicines such as Ivermectin, used to cure various parasitic diseases.  Youyou Tu, from China, developed the drug Artemisinin in the battle against Malaria.

These diseases have been plaguing humankind since the dawn of time and have claimed millions of lives, while having left many more crippled for life. At present more than 3.4 billion people are living in areas where they are at risk of contracting Malaria, River blindness or Lymphatic Filariasis, diseases spread by the malaria mosquito and parasitic worms. With the medicines developed and now readily available, deaths from Malaria are down by 20 percent, among children the percentage is even higher.

The diseases treated are mostly prevalent in the poorer areas of the globe and in many cases the pharmaceutical companies provide these drugs for free, or at low cost. As an example, one of these pharmaceutical giants, on a yearly basis, donates some 270 million treatments against River blindness, thus saving millions of lives.

// Lena Ericsson