Saturday, 30 December 2017


Accomplished self-trained pharmacist and educator from Ningbo and Nobel laureate for developing malaria treatments that have saved the lives of untold millions, Tu Youyou is celebrating her eighty-seventh birthday today. It can seem very confusing but I suppose it’s really quite a straightforward matter to wish her a happy one. Ms Tu relates that her given name comes from a verse in the Shih-ching (the Chinese book of classic poetry) that the deer bleat ‘youyou’ as they gaze on wild Artemisia (hao)—a type of sagebrush whose chemical derivative (artemisinin or qinghao su), Tu would come to discover, can be used as an anti-malarial drug.