How does the Nobel Prize winner, "Three No Scientist" Tu Youyou use a small grass to change human health?

2021-07-30 | Reading History Collection3 |

Text | Reading Jun

She is not a returnee, nor an academician. In her, she can't find any luxury of celebrity, which is almost the same as the aunt on the corner. However, she is such a seemingly ordinary person, but she is "Winner of the Medal of the Republic, China’s first Nobel Prize winner in Physiology or Medicine.

Yes, the person I want to talk about today is an old lady from China-Tu Youyou.

She looks so ordinary, but she shines with dazzling light. Six years ago, she stood in the Nobel awards ceremony without arrogance and received countless flowers and applause from all over the world.

However, in private, she is a low-key person who can't be low-key. In order to "receive the dust", she quietly completed the boarding formalities and "ran away."

When the media wants to interview her, she always finds various reasons to refuse. Among the nearly 30 scientists who have won this award since 2000, she is the only one who declined the media interview.

Colleagues comment on her:

"Being low-key, and low-key for a long time...There are large blanks in the entire business card except for unit, name, title, address, etc.."

"Frank, telling the truth, not knowing how to slap horses, whether in meetings or individual speeches, she agrees immediately; if she disagrees, she will speak up, regardless of whether the other party is an old friend or a leader."

Tu Youyou, who has benefited thousands of people throughout her life, is known as one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century, she deserves it!

However, for this old Chinese lady, many people still seem to know very little about it. Today, Mr. Shushu is here to pick up this great female party member in China, how amazing it is!

01 unfortunately fell ill, and developed a strong interest in medicine

In December 1930, in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, a baby girl quack fell to the ground. Her father named her from "Youyou Luming, Shiyezhiping" in "The Book of Songs? Xiaoya".

"Ping", a kind of plant, named "Mugwort". The meaning of this phrase in "The Book of Songs" is basically a group of deer croaking and eating mugwort in the wilderness. And who would have thought of thisNamed, it is destined to have a fate with Qinghao.

Tu Youyou's father is a bank clerk, and there are three older brothers on it. She is the only girl in the family.

Image source of Tu Youyou and his mother in childhood: "The Biography of Tu Youyou" by People's Publishing House

Although there are many brothers in the family, and despite the turmoil of the time, Tu Youyou received no less care. In order to receive a good education, Tu Youyou reached the age of reading and reading, and his parents sent him to Hanxiang"School" attends elementary school.

In those days, there were not many children who had the opportunity to go to school, and there were very few children who could go to a good school.

"Hanxiang Academy" was built in 1906 and has a collection of more than 5,000 volumes from ancient to modern times. Famous scholars such as Cai Yuanpei and Ma Yinchu have all come here to give lectures. It is a scholarly school with a long history.

Under the influence of a good learning environment and family education, Tu Youyou has been exposed to various classical medical books such as "Shen Nong's Materia Medica", "Treatise on Febrile and Miscellaneous Diseases", "Compendium of Materia Medica" and so on since childhood.

It seems that all successful great men have to go through all kinds of tempers first, as the so-called "heaven will descend to the people".

In 1945, Tu Youyou went to junior high school, and unfortunately contracted tuberculosis the following year, and was forced to suspend her studies. That year, she was only 16 years old.

In that era of shortage of supplies and medical care, those who can survive the disease are considered to be lucky, and Tu Youyou is such a lucky one.

After two years of illness, after careful treatment and conditioning, Tu Youyou's body finally got better and recovered. This "aftermath" illness made her have a keen interest in medicine.

She thought, after studying medicine, she can not only save herself from diseases, but also save more people. Why not do it? Since then, she began to devote herself to medicine.

02 Devoted to medicine, in-depth study of Chinese pharmacy

Ningbo has two middle schools-Xiaoshi Middle School and Ningbo Middle School, which are not well known to the world. A few years ago, these two schools suddenly caught fire because of Nobel Prize winner Tu Youyou.

In 1948, Tu Youyou entered Ningbo Xiaoshi Middle School. In 1950, he entered Ningbo Middle School for senior high school. According to understanding, when Tu Youyou was in middle school, he “looks beautiful, wore glasses and combed braids”, and his grades were not outstanding.A more significant feature is that as long as you like it, you can always stick to it.

Student photo of Tu Youyou when he was studying at Ningbo Middle School in Zhejiang Province

In 1951, Tu Youyou was admitted to the Department of Pharmacy, Peking University School of Medicine, and chose the unpopular major at the time-the major of Pharmacognosy.

Asking the reason, there are two:

First, she feels that this major is close to the field of Chinese medicine; second, she has great ideals and ambitions for this major.

In this regard, many years later, recalling his choice, Tu Youyou once said: This is the wisest choice.

Unlike today’s college students who are wandering and drifting with the crowd, in those days, almost all those who could enter the university cherished the hard-won learning opportunities.

During college, Tu Youyou studied very hard and showed great interest in professional courses such as plant classification. After graduating from university in 1955, Tu Youyou worked in the Institute of Chinese Medicine at the Academy of Chinese Medicine with his excellent academic level.

While participating in work, Tu Youyou further studied Chinese pharmacy, learning how to identify and process medicines, how to distinguish the authenticity of medicines, and often "sweat and mud" into the field to collect samples...for this, laid a solid foundationGood knowledge base of Chinese pharmacy.

In the 1960s, malaria broke out, especially in North China at that time. Rural areas were particularly hard-hit areas, and the mortality rate of children suffering from malaria was extremely high.

Malaria is commonly known as "Dabaizi" and "Firewood Disease". In Southwest China, the Dai people call it "Pipa Ghost".

Just hearing the name is enough to see the fearful influence it has caused on people. In ancient times, the poet Du Fu of the Tang Dynasty vividly described his feelings about suffering from malaria:

"It has been malaria for three years, and a ghost will not die. The next day, search for fat and marrow, increase the cold and embrace the snow."

Through the text, it is enough to see how much malaria has affected poets. At that time, the ancients did not know much about malaria, and described its pathogen as a "ghost". At that time, people were afraid of this disease.

In fact, not only in ancient times, in the last century, even in the 21st century, malaria is still rampant in many developing countries, such as children in Africa, because they do not have mosquito nets, etc., children are bitten by mosquitoes and get malaria, which eventually leads toThe death toll is countless.

According to relevant statistics, there are about 500 million cases worldwide each year, and more than one million people die. The World Health Organization points out that malaria kills a child under 5 every 30 seconds.

Although there were already therapeutic drugs for malaria parasites, such as quinine and chloroquine, they all had significant drug resistance and drug resistance.

Finding a new anti-malaria drug that can replace quinine and chloroquine, saving thousands of lives, became a major task and challenge for the medical community at that time.

In order to deal with malaria, China has carried out a series of research work across the country, and the discovery of one of the grasses has rewritten history.

03 I acted as the first batch of "guinea pigs" in order to test the medicine

In 1969, the China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine accepted the task of anti-malaria research, and Tu Youyou was nominated as the team leader.

However, not long after the founding of New China at that time, all industries were waiting to be developed, and the conditions of medical facilities were extremely limited. The working group led by Tu Youyou could only work in a crude environment, from more than 2,000 records in ancient Chinese documents.Sorting, screening and research in animal, plant and mineral medicine.

In a short period of time, finding suitable and effective medicines from thousands of Chinese herbal medicines is as difficult as finding a needle in a haystack.

Difficulties did not defeat Tu Youyou's beliefs. Instead, she became more and more frustrated. While reading ancient medical books, she also visited old Chinese doctors everywhere, and finally compiled an anti-malaria based on more than 600 drugs.Fangji, which includes the most critical prescription of Artemisia annua.

Artemisia annua is used as medicine, and it is recorded in ancient medical books of various generations. For example, Li Shizhen said that Artemisia annua can cure "malaria cold and heat." However, there is almost no record about what kind of Artemisia annua is used. In addition, due to limited technical conditions,It can be said that there are very few Chinese medicines that can be thoroughly researched and developed efficiently, making them highly effective medicines.

Although Tu Youyou's research team discovered a number of prescriptions using Artemisia annua at that time, the results were not satisfactory, and the experiment was once deadlocked.

Finally, after repeated research, Tu Youyou recorded from Ge Hong's ancient book "Elbow Reserve Emergency Prescription": "Grasp Artemisia annua L., use two liters of water for stains, squeeze the juice, and take it all."Found inspiration in.

Perhaps the problem lies in the commonly used "decoction" method, because high temperature will destroy the effectiveness of Artemisia annua. So, she changed the method and experimented with a low-boiling solvent. After many failures, sheFinally succeeded. In 1971, an extract of Artemisia annua with 100% antimalarial effect was discovered.

At that time, the first batch of "little mice" test subjects were scientific researchers including Tu Youyou. As the team leader, Tu Youyou was the first to stand up and say: "I am the team leader, and I have a responsibility.The first test drug!"

Later, in order to better study artemisinin, Tu Youyou personally went to the malaria area in Hainan, went deep into the patients under the scorching heat, and even fed the sick people himself. In the end, with unremitting persistence and hard work,She handed over a satisfactory answer to the society, the country, and even the world.

The successful development of artemisinin has brought hope and light to hundreds of millions of malaria-infected patients worldwide.

According to statistics from the World Health Organization, more than 200 million malaria patients worldwide benefit from artemisinin combination therapy each year, and the number of malaria deaths has steadily declined from 736,000 in 2000 to 409,000 in 2019. The discovery of artemisininSaved millions of lives around the world.

In 2015, Tu Youyou won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, and the news of the award was passed to her by outsiders.

04 Not greedy for fame and fortune, low-key work and life

She doesn't seem to have much interest in fame and fortune. After winning the award, Tu Youyou's doorstep was filled with reporters from all walks of life who wanted to grab first-hand information, and leaders who came to congratulate her.

Almost all of this was rejected by Tu Youyou. Some people say that she has become arrogant and upright, but she just doesn't want to be disturbed or show the limelight. Just like Tao Yujin, the president of the Beijing Alumni Association of Xiaoshi Middle School, commented on herHas the same character:

"Only when she talks about scientific research, she will talk endlessly. I can't wait to talk to you all afternoon, but when it comes to other topics, she rarely expresses her opinion."

"Leaders will ask her if she has any difficulties in life. She has never mentioned any difficulties, but when it comes to Qinghaosu, her eyes are bright. And she is outspoken." Comment by Cao Hongxin

In her own words, that is:

I am engaged in research, I just want to honestly learn, do my own thing well, do a good job of the subject, I have no thoughts and no time to think about other things.

In December 2015, Tu Youyou flew from Beijing to Stockholm, Sweden to attend the Nobel Prize award ceremony. At that time, the director of a certain administrative bureau specially picked up the old lady for him at the terminal building, but he waited for a long time., Can't wait for anyone.

Just because the old lady slipped away quietly.

At the Nobel Prize award ceremony, she said:

"It this honor belongs to everyone in the scientific research team... This is not only a personal honor awarded to me, but also a commendation and encouragement to all Chinese scientists."

The Nobel Prize won by Tu Youyou brought her a bonus of 460,000 U.S. dollars, which is about 3 million yuan in RMB.

Later, she donated 2 million yuan from it to the Peking University School of Medicine and the Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences to set up the Tu Youyou Innovation Fund. The rest was used for related expenses such as awards.

On January 4, 2016, proposed by the National Astronomical Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and approved by the International Astronomical Union, a "permanent asteroid naming" event was held, and by winning this award, you can name an asteroid in the firmament after your own nameThere are 5 scientists in, including Tu Youyou.

As a result, the other 4 scientists in the event all went, but Tu Youyou did not go because of "physical discomfort"...

In 2019, Tu Youyou won the country’s highest honor "Medal of the Republic". Before the election was announced, she repeatedly confirmed with relevant staff:

Am I qualified for such an important honor? Have other people's consent been sought?


List of winners of the "Medal of the Republic"

Regarding the title, in fact, she had applied for an academician at first.

Because she does not have a background of studying abroad, a doctorate degree, or an academician title, she is regarded by many as a "three-no-scientist". She has applied for an academician, but she has not been rated.

Initially, as early as when she won the Science and Technology Progress Award, someone complained that she was exclusively enjoying the fruits of other people’s labor and gave her a "criminal". She didn't say too much about this, and argued endlessly. Time is upToday, she will have to count hundreds of years, and will no longer be an academician.

It can be said that she is a pure scientist, and she has devoted all her life to the cause of artemisinin.

There is an old saying in China that "worries the world first and worry, and then the world enjoys happiness". To help the world, to be a useful person to the society will not vain the meaning of life.

Because the value of life depends on what he contributes, not what he achieves.

Undoubtedly, Tu Youyou is the former.

In ancient times, there was Shennong who tasted Baicao, but now there is Tu Youyou, a small grass that helps the world.

In any case, from this point of view, the name Tu Youyou is destined to be carved into the hearts of the people, and it is recorded in the annals of Chinese history and is worthy of praise!

write to the end,

I hope that the new generation of young Chinese, the successors of the motherland, will actively follow the outstanding ancestors, work hard, continue to carry forward the "artemisinin spirit", make contributions to the country and the people, and create more wealth in lifeAnd value!

Reference material:

"40 people in 40 years of China's reform and opening up"

"Three Generations of Scientists"

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