Outstanding Nobel Prize-Winning Women

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Nobel Prize is a kind of annual honor for outstanding intellectual achievement created by Swedish scientist and philanthropist Alfred Nobel. Here are the six fields of the Nobel Prize: literature, physical, chemistry, physiology or medicine, promotion of peace and economic sciences. The first prizes were presented in 1901 and have been celebrated to over 900 recipients.

Between 1901 and 2018, there were only 51 women had been awarded the Nobel Prize, among the numerous Nobel Prize winners, Youyou Tu, Rosalyn Yalow, Elizabeth Blackburn and Barbara McClintock had given the Nobel Prize a major contribution.For Youyou Tu, she is a Chinese pharmaceutical chemist and educator and she was born in 1930. Since she had discovered a brand-new treatment for malaria, she rewarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 2015. She is the Nobel Prize winner in the natural science category of Asian and Chinese woman and also the initial Nobel Laureate in natural sciences to receive native education and conduct analysis in mainland China.In 1969, Youyou Tu was appointed as the head of the 523-project team of the Beijing Institute of Chinese Medicine and they are responsible for leading the search and collation of traditional Chinese medicine literature and formulas. Since Youyou Tu and her team desires to seek out substances to against malaria in traditional Chinese medicine.Youyou Tu has been engaged in the research of traditional Chinese medicine and Chinese and Western medicine for many years. Her outstanding contribution is innovative antimalarial drugs, namely artemisinin and dihydroartemisinic. Youyou Tu believed that “the discovery of artemisinin is a successful example of collective discovery of traditional Chinese medicine. The award is an honour for China's scientific cause and Chinese medicine to the world.”.

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In my opinion, I think Youyou Tu is totally worthy to win the Nobel Prize as her innovations (the artemisinin and dihydroartemisinic) had been listed in the “Basic Drugs” catalogue by the World Health Organization and became the standard treatment for malaria. Moreover, the artemisinin and dihydroartemisinic had saved many people’s life and controlled the serious infectious diseases that are caused by parasites spread by insects.

And of course, during her scientific investigation, she might come across many difficulties, for example, the dose is difficult to predict, drug patent, the reaction of the patient. And actually, “who first discovered artemisinin” has caused controversy, therefore, the contribution of Youyou Tu has not been recognized and it is not easy to have a focus on the investigation since she may encounter lots of discouraged situations.

Moreover, Youyou Tu and her team had selected 640 prescriptions for possible treatment of malaria and finally 380 extracts were extracted from 200 herbs and succeeded after 191 trials in mice. Although Youyou Tu had failed 190 times of her experiments, but she never gives up on it, and finally, she found out a 100% anti-malarial extract in the experiment. In 1992, she was invented a 10x upgraded extract for anti-malarial. And we may see that successful is not inevitable and it needs so much power and energy to try and test.

For Rosalyn Yalow, she is The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1997, Rosalyn Yalow is American and she was a nuclear physicist, she born in 1921 and died in 2011. Rosalyn Yalow was the second woman, and the first American-born woman who awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine.She developed radioimmunoassay (RIA) with doctor Solomon Berson. The RIA is employed to live tiny concentrations of drugs within the body like the hormones in the blood. They tracked insulin by injecting radioactive iodine into the patient’s blood, since this method they had used is so accurate, they can prove that type 2 diabetes is caused by the inefficient use of insulin by the body. In the past, it was previously thought that the disease was caused by a lack of insulin. Antecedently, it had been thought that the unwellness was caused by an absence of hypoglycemic agent. As a result, Rosalyn Yalow has won the Nobel Prize since she had developed the radioimmunoassay for peptide hormones.

In my opinion, Rosalyn Yalow is absolutely capable of obtaining the Nobel Prize. Rosalyn Yalow not only created the RIA as an auxiliary tool for disease diagnosis, but also insisted on strict quality control and demanded quality assurance. Later, even nowadays, the world and the major research centers are still adopting this technology to test the data for clinical diagnosis. It shows that her great contribution had brought about major changes in the medical community and scientists.

Rosalyn Yalow had also stated that the RIA method can be used to measure very tiny small amounts of substances. Even the methods that are developed recently for clinical use, like the method of converting the combined substances into enzymes or the EIA, but these new technologies still cannot replace the RIA to measure those kind of extremely small substances as they are difficult to achieve a very stable levels for determination while measuring.Also, the radioimmunoassay test is used to prevent mental retardation in babies with underactive thyroid glands. A few drops of blood from a pinprick on the newborn’s heel can be analyzed with RIA to identify babies at risk to avoid too late to prevent brain damage if there weren’t any symptoms are present until a baby is more than three months.

And of course, Rosalyn Yalow’s research process may also encounter many difficulties, including her insistence on quality may increase the needs of time, steps, frequency of testing necessary for the experiment. The long-term internal quality management needs to monitor whether the experimental values are reliable or not, and the experiment is more likely to have errors in consequence. Therefore, I think the repeated test and high concentration on management the experiment may be the biggest difficulty of this research.  

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