Tu Youyou

So you know how when you feel a bit iffy or something hurts and you turn to Dr. Google? Only to self-diagnose a rare form of brain tumour precisely 4 minutes later?


There's a reason that ACTUAL doctors exist and we should probably stay off Google and just go see one.


However, there's always an exception to the rule, and Tu Youyou is that exception. Despite not being a doctor, she won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 2015 for her work in curing Malaria. As the Nobel Prize website explains,


"Youyou turned to Chinese medical texts from the Zhou, Qing, and Han Dynasties to find a traditional cure for malaria, ultimately extracting a compound – artemisinin – that has saved millions of lives. When she isolated the ingredient she believed would work, she volunteered to be the first human subject. She is the first mainland Chinese scientist to have received a Nobel Prize in a scientific category, and she did so without a doctorate, a medical degree, or training abroad."


Tu Youyou's work demanded an enormous sacrifice of her - she went three years without seeing her children, who were 1 and 4 when she left them to head up Project 523. However, she'd witnessed firsthand the devastating toll of malaria on the human body and felt she had to make that sacrifice.


Two decades after her hard work, WHO finally recommended the cure she'd found - artemisinin combination therapy - as the first line of defence against malaria. The Lasker Foundation called the discovery of artemisinin “arguably the most important pharmaceutical intervention in the last half-century.”


Again, she's an exception to the rule... but what an exception!


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