Youyou Tus Half Award and the Significance of Her Work Globally and Today

Published: 2021-06-22
528 words
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Sewanee University of the South
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Youyou Tu highly contributed to the treatment of Malaria when she discovered artemisinin, a drug which was an improvement of chloroquine. The chloroquine had been the Malaria drug in use for many years, but its effectiveness was slowly declining as the malaria parasites were developing more resistance. Youyou Tu was pushed to make the discovery by Mao who needed to reduce the deaths of its soldiers in China, as the drug Chloroquine was no longer serving its purpose as intended. Youyou Tu discovered the treatments while she was on a secret military project during Chinas Cultural Revolution.

The reason why she was given half of the award, which featured a prestigious 8m Swedish Kronor (631,000) prize was that other researchers had also made an important joint discovery which changed the life of the citizens. 80-year-old Satoshi Omura, an expert in soil microbes at Kitasato University, and William Campbell, an Irish-born parasitologists at the Drew University in New Jersey equally shared the other half for their discovery of avermectin. This is a drug for treating roundworm parasites.

Therefore, these scientists have made discoveries which have together transformed the lives of millions of human beings around the world, especially those in the developing countries. In these countries, parasitic diseases that cause illness and death are quite common, and the effects are drastic. These discoveries have provided humankind with a new mode of dealing effectively with these debilitating diseases that affect millions every year. The changes that have been experienced, regarding improved quality of health and the reduced suffering cannot be measured.

Malaria has always been dubbed "killer of children." Today, approximately 2,000 young children still die of malaria every day, especially those living in Africa. However, over the past 15 years, the mortality rate has dropped by up to 60% due to the improved modes of treatment and prevention. Modern medication which features an artemisinin-based combination therapy,' or ACT have actively contributed to this reduction. In 2013, approximately 400 million doses were offered to patients. The work of Youyou Tu, therefore, has led to a reduction of deaths associated with Malaria. She discovered a breakthrough that led to the development of a formula that has informed countries and is now being used as a standard antimalarial regimen. Therefore, her work is not only used for treatment but also for an effective prevention when living in or going to visit malaria prone zones.

Today, people no longer have to worry about drug resistance as the formula leads to a strong antimalarial drug. Pregnant women today are also benefiting compared to those who were present before this discovery. At specific points, they are offered antimalarial drugs to prevent them from suffering from malaria which is very risky in their delicate state.

In conclusion, the work of Youyou Tu has had significant results both in history and today. It was the turning point for many individuals regarding their health and wellbeing. Today, the number of people living malaria free in Africa has risen; this includes both young and old. The use of a drug that has never experienced resistance has led to better ways of dealing with the disease. Therefore, the world's population has benefited from this discovery.

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