Derry scientist awarded Nobel Prize

A Derry-born scientist has been awarded the prestigious Nobel Prize for Medicine at a ceremony in Stockholm.

Professor William C Campbell (85) was jointly awarded the accolade along with Japanese scientist Satoshi Omura. The pair have found a new way to use the drug known as ivermectin to treat infections such as river blindness, an eye and skin and disease that can ultimately lead to blindness and lymphatic filariasis, also known as elephantiasis, which can cause painful swelling of the limbs. Both conditions are common aliments among those living in the world’s poorest countries.

Campbell who was born in Derry in 1930, grew up in Ramelton near Donegal. He studied at Trinity College, Dublin before moving to the United States of America to work as a parasite biology researcher and obtain his PhD.

Speaking about the award, the scientist, whose discovery has been credited with saving many lives, claimed it was a once in a lifetime experience.

“It was an amazing setting and we got a police escort to the ceremony,” he said. “I got a box with a medal inside and I also got a certificate. Some of my family from Donegal came to Stockholm with me to celebrate. It was a delightful experience but getting the prize was very much a team effort.”

Explaining their decision, the judging committee in Stockholm said: “The consequences of these discoveries in terms of improved health and reduced suffering are immensurable.”

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