2015 Nobel Prize Medicine – Recognition of therapy against the deadly parasitic diseases and how it impacts India?

Image Noble Pirze


William C. Campbell and Satoshi Ōmura (for their discoveries concerning a novel therapy against infections caused by roundworm parasites) &Youyou Tu (for her discoveries concerning a novel therapy against Malaria)

Malaria and Artemisinin

  • Malaria claims more than 450,000 lives every year and 3.4 billion or close to 50% of world’s population at risk of contracting mosquito-borne disease
  • India has deployed more than 900,000 female volunteers popularly known as Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) to every village with more than 1000 population
  • ASHA workers are trained as health educators and trained to perform rapid diagnostic tests to detect Malaria and administer artemisinin-based treatments
  • Artemisinin, when used in combination therapy is estimated to bring down mortality from Malaria by more than 20% overall and by more than 30% in children
  • The fight for Malaria elimination includes 4 distinct programme phases: control, pre-elimination, elimination and prevention of reintroduction
  • India is currently in control phase and by 2017 plans to reach pre-elimination phase


Elephantiasis (Lymphatic Filariasis), River Blindness and Avermectin

  • More than 1.4 billion people are at risk of developing Filariasis and about 169 million people at risk from developing River Blindness
  • As the name suggests, River Blindness can lead to long term disability due to blindness
  • Lymphatic Filariasis can result in chronic swelling and leads to life-long stigmatizing and disabling clinical symptoms, including Elephantiasis (Lymphedema) and Scrotal Hydrocele
  • Collectively, Ōmura and Campbell”s combined efforts led to the discovery of a new class of drugs (Avermectin, which was subsequently chemically modified to a more effective compound called Ivermectin)
  • The above compound was found to have extraordinary efficacy against parasitic diseases




  1. https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/2015/press.html
  2. http://www.who.int/features/2015/india-programme-end-malaria/en/
  3. http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21671121-researchers-share-honour-finding-ways-nature-can-provide-solutions-its

Author :
Dr (Maj) Satish S Jeevannavar
(CEO, Activ Doctors Online India)

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