Nobel medicine prize won for drugs from natural sources | Science News

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Nobel medicine prize won for drugs from natural sources

Laureates cited for roundworm, malaria infection treatments found in soil-dwelling bacteria, sweet wormwood

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2:08pm, October 5, 2015
William C. Campbell, Satoshi Ōmura and Youyou Tu

NEW NOBELS  William C. Campbell (left), Satoshi Ōmura (center) and Youyou Tu (right) received the Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology for identifying drugs that fight parasites. 

Drugs that have saved the lives of millions of people around the world have earned their discoverers the 2015 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. One half of the award goes to William Campbell of Drew University in Madison, N.J., and Satoshi Ōmura of Kitasato University in Tokyo for their work on a drug called ivermectin, which combats roundworm infections. The other half goes to Youyou Tu of the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences in Beijing for her discovery of the antimalarial drug artemisinin.

“This is one of those Nobel Prizes for drugs that have truly impacted hundreds of millions of people, no exaggeration,” says Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Md. “They’re incomparable in terms of numbers.”

Together, ivermectin and artemisinin “have been more benefit to humankind than any other” drug, says Christopher Plowe, a parasitologist at the University of

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