Irish scientist William Campbell, a joint winner of this year’s Nobel Prize for Medicine, says he is happy to accept the award on behalf of the research team which produced the drug.
He was speaking in a telephone interview published by the Nobel Prize organisation.
He said that he was glad that that his work had had a huge impact in preventing River Blindness, a disease caused by parasites which has afflicted the developing world.
Blindness anywhere, and especially in certain areas of the world, is likely to be calamitous and fatal because people cannot be productive and make a living when they are blind, in some circumstances. So it has certainly changed lives and changed the ability of people to live in certain fertile areas of land which they had had to abandon because of the disease, and this enables them to repopulate areas that had been abandoned, so that has been another way it has been important.
Mr Campbell shares his part of the prize with Satoshi Ōmura from Japan, who cultured the microbes from which Mr Campbell’s team developed the drug Ivermectin, which led to “a novel therapy against infections caused by roundworm parasites”. Together they share 50% of this years prize.
The other 50% was awarded to Youyou Tu, a researcher from China, “for her discoveries concerning a novel therapy against Malaria”.
Born in Ramelton, Co Donegal, Mr Campbell is an Emeritus Fellow at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, USA.