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Tu Youyou receives 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

China’s pharmacologist Tu Youyou received her 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in Stockholm on Dec 10.

Tu, 84, received the Nobel medal, Nobel diploma and a document confirming the Nobel Prize amount from King XVI Gustaf of Sweden at the Stockholm Concert Hall.

“The discovery of Artemisinin has led to development of a new drug that has saved the lives of millions of people, halving the mortality rate of malaria during the past 15 years,” said Professor Hans Forssberg, member of the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine, when presenting Tu’s scientific contributions.

Together with her team, Tu managed to extract, through trial and error, a substance from Artemisia annua, or sweet wormwood, that proved effective in reducing mortality rates for patients suffering from malaria.

Tu received half of this year’s medicine prize of 4 million SEK ($460,000), and the other half are equally shared by William Campbell and Satoshi Omura, who jointly discovered a novel therapy against infections caused by roundworm parasites.

This years’ laureates, Takaaki Kajita and Arthur B. McDonald of physics, Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar of chemistry, Svetlana Alexievich of literature and Angus Deaton of economics, also received their award in the Concert Hall.

Addressing the laureates, Professor Carl-Henrik Heldin, chairman of the Board of the Nobel Foundation, said: “some of the scientific discoveries we celebrate today have already proved to be extraordinarily useful for mankind in the treatment of certain disease. These examples illustrate that research can solve many problems and contribute to a better world.”

Other discoveries can be characterized as basic research, whose findings are likely “directly or indirectly to be proved useful in the future.”

The concert hall awards ceremony is followed by a lavish banquet in the Stockholm City Hall.

The Nobel prizes have been presented annually since 1901. The announcement each year is in October. The annual Dec 10 awards ceremony marks the peak of the Nobel Week, where laureates participate in a series of seminars and events in Stockholm.