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Healthcheck

BBC World Service

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Health issues and medical breakthroughs from around the world.

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Malaria and River Blindness Drugs Share Nobel Prize

October 7th, 2015

Episode 55 of 158 episodes

This year’s Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded to three scientists whose research on parasitic diseases has saved the lives of millions and the sight of hundreds of millions of people in tropical countries. Following a lead from traditional Chinese medicine, Dr Youyou Tu discovered and isolated a chemical, artemisinin, from the sweet wormwood plant. Artemisinin is now the basis of successful malaria treatment worldwide. She shared the prize with Japanese microbiologist Satoshi Omura and Irish-born medicinal chemist William C Campbell for their discovery of a new chemical produced by a soil microbe. They discovered it killed roundworm parasites. It was modified into a drug, Ivermectin, which has been used to treat and prevent River Blindness (Onchocerciasis) and lymphatic filariasis in hundreds of millions of people in Sub-Saharan Africa. Five years ago, 33 men were rescued from deep within a mine in Chile after being trapped for 69 days. Jane Chambers talks to two of the miners and experts involved in their ordeal about the psychological impact of the experience. Picture: Ivermectin is administered. Credit: Getty Images

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