Parasites and the Nobel Prize in Medicine

The Nobel Prize in medicine for 2015 was awarded to three doctors whose dedicated discoveries and research have produced powerful parasite fighting natural compounds.

The joint award was shared by Dr. Youyou Tu, Dr. William Campbell and Dr. Satoshi Omura.

Dr. Tu  from China worked on isolating a key chemical from the ancient Chinese fever remedy known asArtemisia annua. Artemisinin as it is known has strong antimalarial properties and a long history of effectiveness in clinical usage.

Dr. Campbell from Duke University and Dr. Omura from Japan worked with strains of the soil bacteriaStreptomyces looking for possible infection fighting compounds. Eventually one that fights parasites in animals was found named Avermectin. Later it was renamed Ivermectin and has been useful in the eradication of parasites in both animals and humans.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health stated, “The discoveries of Avermectin and Artemisinin have revolutionized therapy for patients suffering from devastating parasitic diseases. Campbell, Omura and Tu have transformed the treatment of parasitic diseases.”

Once again, the validity and effectiveness of compounds hidden away in nature’s pharmacy have been brought to light.