clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The 2015 Nobel Prize in Medicine Is All About Recognizing the Fight Against Parasitic Diseases

The winners come from Japan, China and the U.S.

Takashi Aoyama / Getty

Every year, more than 200 million people are infected with malaria, 600,000 of whom will die from it. Infectious diseases and parasites disproportionately harm the lives of billions in impoverished places across the world.

Today, recognizing the work of a select trio in fighting those diseases, the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Youyou Tu, William C. Campbell and Satoshi Omura. Half of the Prize was awarded to Tu, while the other half went to Campbell and Omura.

Tu is the chief professor at the China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine. In the 1960s, her research on herbal medicine yielded the discovery of the plant component Artemisinin, which was a breakthrough drug in the treatment of malaria.

Campbell is a parasite biologist who worked for the Merck Institute for Therapeutic Research, and is Research Fellow Emeritus at Drew University in New Jersey. Omura is a Japanese biochemist who is now Professor Emeritus at Kitasato University in Tokyko. The two are responsible for the 1970s and 80s development Avermectin, which begat a generation of anti-parasitic medication distributed across the world with the help of the World Health Organization and other NGOs.

More information on the prize winners, their research and the Nobel Prize itself can be found here. Head to the Doctors Without Borders website for more information on malaria, Kala Azar and other parasitic diseases, and the work being done to fight them.

This article originally appeared on

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Vox Recommends

Get curated picks of the best Vox journalism to read, watch, and listen to every week, from our editors.