Research & Innovation

Irish scientist wins Nobel Prize for Medicine

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Irish scientist wins Nobel Prize for Medicine

Irish scientist wins Nobel Prize for Medicine
October 07
11:21 2015

William C Campbell, who was born in Ramelton, Co Donegal, and colleague Satoshi Omura (Japan) were jointly awarded, on Tuesday, half the prize for their discoveries concerning a novel therapy against infections caused by roundworm parasites.

The other half of the prize went to Chinese scientist Youyou Tu for her discoveries concerning a new therapy against malaria called Artemisinin.

The painstaking research which Dr. Campbell and his team at the Merck Institute for Therapeutic Research, New Jersey USA performed in isolating and developing the pharmaceutical drug Avermectin, parent of Ivermectin, resulted in a powerful treatment for two of the most awful parasitic diseases to affect humans, namely river blindness (transmitted by black flies) and filariasis, a disfiguring swelling of the lymph system in the legs and lower body known as elephantiasis. These parasitic diseases threaten an estimated one third of the world’s population, particularly amongst the poor of sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and South Asia. Ivermectin has nearly eradicated river blindness and radically reduced filariasis, providing immeasurable benefit to millions of people annually.

Ivermectin will also be well known to farmers, vets and pet owners as it is a very common anti – parasitic treatment for farm and domestic animals – for worms. So when hundreds of people are worming animals every year across Ireland they can think of the seminal research of Dr. William Campbell.

The scientist was born in rural Ireland – Ramelton, Co Donegal in 1930. From 1957 to 1990 he was with the Merck Institute for Therapeutic Research and from 1984 to 1990 worked as Senior Scientist and Director for Assay Research and Development.

Prof Campbell is currently a Research Fellow Emeritus at Drew University, Madison, New Jersey. In 2012, he was also conferred with an honorary doctorate at Trinity College.

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