Last week the Nobel Prize in medicine was shared between three scientists that revolutionised the control of parasitic diseases, notably onchocerciasis, lymphatic filariasis, and ...malaria. It was the Chinese scientist Youyou Tu that received the prize for her work on artemisinin. She thus became the fourth (or fifth?) Nobel Prize winner with a focus on malaria. Who were the others?
The second Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine went to Sir Ronald Ross, for his discovery of the role of mosquitoes in the transmission of malaria. That was back in 1902. Not long afterwards it was Alphonse Laveran, in 1907, who received the prize for his discovery of the malaria parasite and demonstration that it was not a bacterium but a parasitic protozoan that is causing the disease. Then it took several decades for another winner to come forward, Paul Muller, in 1948, for his discovery of the world's most controversial insecticide, DDT. It can be argued, however, that the prize in 1927, for Julius Wagner-Jauregg, was also directly related to malaria, since he discovered that syphilis can be cured with malaria. So it can be debated if this year's Nobel Prize is the 4th or the 5th for malaria...
Interestingly, the recent paper by Bhatt et al. in Nature attributed 68% of all the gains over the last 15 years to LLINs, 22% to ACTs, and 10% to IRS. One could therefore make a case that the discovery of the LLIN would equally qualify for a Nobel Prize...what do you think?
MalariaWorld congratulates Dr. Youyou Tu with this great award, especially so since this Nobel Prize is putting global attention to the cause of parasitic diseases such as malaria.
This week also an announcement from MESA, that the Armed Forces Pesticide Board has joined the MESA track database. Read more here.
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