Nobel Prize Awarded for Groundbreaking Research on Infectious Disease Drugs

Image courtesy of the Nobel Assembly
Image courtesy of the Nobel Assembly

The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet has awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to researchers for their discoveries concerning novel therapies against infections caused by roundworm parasites and malaria.

Nobel Prize was jointly awarded to William C. Campbell and Satoshi Ōmura for their discovery of the drug avermectin to treat parasitic diseases like intestinal strongyloidiasis and onchocerciasis. Ivermectin, a derivative of avermectin, has significantly lowered the incidence of River Blindness and Lymphatic Filariasis and shows efficacy against an expanding number of other parasitic diseases.

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Youyou Tu was awarded for her discovery of the drug artemisinin, which was developed after she successfully extracted the active component from Artemisia annua. Artemisinin is part of a new class of antimalarial agents that quickly kill malaria parasites at an early stage of their development, leading to reduced mortality rates for patients suffering from malaria.

Since 1901 the Nobel Prize has been awarded to scientists who have made the most important discoveries for the benefit of mankind. The Nobel Assembly, consisting of 50 professors at Karolinska Institutet, awards the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine and its Nobel Committee evaluates the nominations.

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