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BLOG: Sweden's Nobel Prize in Medicine 2015

Emma Löfgren · 6 Oct 2015, 10:24

Published: 05 Oct 2015 10:00 GMT+02:00
Updated: 06 Oct 2015 10:24 GMT+02:00

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Monday, October 5th, The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

2.08pm Until tomorrow

If you're just catching up on what has been going on in Stockholm, here's a full round-up, looking at who the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine are this year and why they were selected.

We'll be live blogging the rest of the Nobel announcements in the coming week. Do join us on Tuesday, when we'll be testing our physics knowledge.

12.40pm Interview with Nobel Committee

The Local's Editor Maddy Savage has interviewed Juleen Zierath of the Karolinska Institute's Nobel Committee. There's been a lot of talk about the committees behind the award hoping to increase the number of women laureates, and Youyou Tu is only the 12th female recipient to date.

But Zierath insisted gender was not a deciding factor: "Truly, truly we look at the nominations that come and we look at them for what they have done. What is the discovery? (...) And then what is the benefit for mankind. We can't pay attention to sex or religion or nationality.

She agreed however that it was good that the committee had selected a positive female role model for women in science, adding: "I just hope she knows now!"

The committee said earlier it had struggled to get hold of Tu. Usually they ring scientists at home or at their offices, but this time it was "very hard" to get her contact information, Zierath told The Local.

She added that the prize winners had all helped create drugs that had saved millions of lives but noted that "down the line we can't predict what will happen," referring to the fact that some parasites could become resistant to the drugs. 

"But in this case remember these drugs have been used for decades now and they have saved millions, really millions literally of lives (...) and that's why these winners have been recognized," she said.

12.05pm Press conference concludes

The press conference is now over. But keep an eye on this space, we'll be back with more information about the three winners of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Medicine.

12.00pm More about the winners

This year, the Nobel Prize in Medicine has been awarded to laureates who have developed therapies that have revolutionized the treatment of some of the world's most devastating parasitic diseases, which affect the poorest populations. 

William C Campbell, an Irish researcher based at Drew University in the US, and Satoshi Ōmura of Japan discovered a new drug, Avermectin, which has helped to lower the incidence of river blindness and lymphatic filariasis. Youyou Tu from China discovered Artemisinin, a drug which reduced the mortality rates for malaria patients.


"These two discoveries have provided humankind with powerful new means to combat these debilitating diseases that affect hundreds of millions of people annually. The consequences in terms of improved human health and reduced suffering are immeasurable," says the press release.

11.55am The Nobel Prize laureates

Here's another picture where you can see the three winners a little better.

Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

11.50am Who are the winners?

William C. Campbell and Satoshi Ōmura were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine "for their discoveries concerning a novel therapy against infections caused by roundworm parasites", according to the press release.

The prize is shared with Youyou Tu "for her discoveries concerning a novel therapy against malaria". According to Professor Urban Lendahl of the Nobel Prize Assembly, they have not been able to get hold of her yet. Madam Tu, if you're reading The Local and are finding out this way: please get in touch.

11.45am The winners' accomplishments

11.40am The Nobel Prize winners presented

Nobel staff are presenting the work of the three 2015 winners, William C. Campbell,  Satoshi Ōmura and Youyou Tu, in medicine.

Photo: Maddy Savage/The Local

11.33am And the winner is...

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2015 has been awarded with one half jointly to William C. Campbell and Satoshi Ōmura for their discoveries concerning a novel therapy against infections caused by roundworm parasites and the other half to Youyou Tu for her discoveries concerning a novel therapy against Malaria.

11.25am Get ready

Just minutes left until the 2015 winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine is to be revealed in Stockholm, Sweden.

11.20am Watch the announcement live

You can watch the live stream from the announcement of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine here. It hasn't started yet, but there's only ten minutes to go.

11.15am Testing, testing, 3-2-1...?

Journalists have been asked to wait outside in the corridor while Nobel Prize staff at Karolinska presumably check that their PowerPoint presentation works.

11.12am Last-minute speculation (and preparation)

The Local's Maddy Savage reporting from the Nobel Prize press conference at the Karolinska Institute: "With less than 30 minutes to go until the announcement, many journalists here are busy doing some last minute reading on this year's predicted winners. But their research could well prove futile. The Nobel committees like to keep the world guessing and regularly choose to hand the awards out to unexpected recipients."

Meanwhile the Literature prize announcement which usually takes place on the Thursday of Nobels week but is not usually revealed until a few days beforehand, has been confirmed for October 8th.

11.03am International media attention

As I mentioned in the previous post, The Local's Editor Maddy Savage is at the press conference where the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine is set to be announced later.

Here's what she has to say: "There are few big annual events that gather Sweden’s media together like the Nobel announcements. The lecture theatre here at Karolinska Institute is filling up with newspaper and broadcasting journalists from the major national outlets such as Sveriges Radio, SVT and TT. We’ve also spotted international reporters from Germany and Finland."

The room is filling up ahead of the announcement. Photo: Maddy Savage/The Local

10.50am The Local is reporting live

The Local's Editor Maddy Savage is down at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, where the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine will be announced later this morning. Follow her on Twitter here.

10.47am Who was Alfred Nobel?

If you're sitting there confused about who Nobel is and why he's giving out prizes, it's probably best you read this. In short, Alfred Nobel was a Swedish scholar who invented dynamite in 1866. In his will, he offered his vast fortune to be shared each year with the best thinkers in a range of academic fields. 

10.40am Killing time

Of course at The Local we would never advocate prank calling innocent scientists, but one Twitter user suggests you could do just that as you kill time waiting for the big announcement at 11.30am in Stockholm.

10.34am Place your bets, folks

It's just around one hour to go before the winner of this year's Medicine Prize is revealed, but Nobel fans have already started speculating about who will take home the 2015 award.

10.25am Fun facts to use at parties

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded 105 times to 207 Nobel laureates between 1901 and 2014. Only 11 women have secured the gong so far.

10.04am All eyes on Stockholm

Story continues below…

Nobel Prize announcement week is one of the events in Sweden that attracts the most international attention. For more information on who has been tipped to take home the various categories, click here.

10.00am Sweden's Nobel Prize season kicks off

Good morning from Stockholm, where we are starting our live coverage of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, which is being announced today. The event is being live blogged by The Local's Deputy Editor Emma Löfgren, with Editor Maddy Savage reporting from the scene. Follow them on Twitter here and here. You can also follow the @NobelPrize team on Twitter.

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Emma Löfgren (emma.lofgren@thelocal.com)

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