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Chinese Nobel Laureate Led Team To Develop Artemisinin Under Orders From Mao Zedong

The Guardian: Tu Youyou: how Mao’s challenge to malaria pioneer led to Nobel prize
“It was 21 January 1969 when Mao Zedong gave a 39-year-old scientist from Zhejiang province the challenge of her life. China was in the grip of the Cultural Revolution, with universities and schools across the country shutting their doors as the red guards ran riot. Amid all the madness Tu Youyou, then a researcher at the Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Beijing, was handed a daunting mission: to find a drug that would cure malaria…” (Phillips, 10/5).

NPR: On Orders From Mao, Researchers Set Off On Nobel-Winning Drug Work
“…For Tu, it all started in the 1960s, when Americans and North Vietnamese fighters were hurting — not just from jungle warfare with each other but also from a common enemy: drug-resistant malaria. Scientists on both sides of the line scurried to develop a new drug that would keep troops malaria-free…” (Cole/Bichell, 10/5).

PRI: A Chinese pharmacologist who discovered a treatment for malaria in an ancient Chinese remedy gets a Nobel prize
“…Tu was recognized with a Nobel prize [Monday] for rediscovering artemisinin, a plant derivative that has significantly reduced death rates from malaria. Her contribution isn’t widely acknowledged today, even in her home country…” (Hackel, 10/5).

Washington Post: How a secret Chinese military drug based on an ancient herb won the Nobel Prize
“…Yet, the international community would be slow to pick up on qinghaosu, or artemisinin, as it’s known outside of China. … By the early 2000s, multi-drug resistant strains of malaria were spreading in several regions of the world. Artemisinin became the one of last lines of defense, and the World Health Organization ramped up efforts to provide the drug…” (Guo, 10/6).

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