The WOMAN who fought malaria

Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease

that affects humans and other animals. It causes symptoms that typically include fever, tiredness, vomiting, and headaches.

Tu 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 was born in 1930 in the city of Ningbo on the east coast of China. She had to take a two-year break from studying at 16 because she had contracted tuberculosis.

When she returned to school, she knew exactly what she wanted to study: medicine.

She wanted to find cures for diseases like the one that had afflicted her.