Presidential award for Donegal Nobel Prize winner

Staff Reporter


Staff Reporter

William C. Campbell, a parasitologist and RISE Associate with Drew University, poses near paintings he made of parasites shortly after learning that he was a co-winner of the Nobel Prize for medicine, at his home in North Andover, Massachusetts October 5, 2015. Three scientists from Japan, China and Ireland whose discoveries led to the development of potent new drugs against parasitic diseases such as malaria and elephantiasis won the Nobel Prize for Medicine on Monday. Irish-born William Campbell and Japan's Satoshi Omura won half of the prize for discovering avermectin, a derivative of which has been used to treat hundreds of millions of people with river blindness and lymphatic filariasis, or elephantiasis. REUTERS/Brian Snyder  TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTS32ZQ

Professor William Campbell.

A Donegal-born Nobel Prize winning scientist is one of the recipients of the Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad 2017.

Professor William C ­Campbell, who was born in Ramelton in 1930, was one of ten recipients of the 2017 award approved at today’s cabinet meeting. Actor Liam Neeson was among the other recipients announced today.

Professor ­Campbell and Professor Satoshi Omura were jointly awarded the Nobel prize in 2015 for ­discovering a drug which fights infections caused by roundworm parasites.

The drug, Avermectin, has radically lowered the incidence of river blindness and lymphatic filariasis. The drug has also shown effectiveness against a growing range of other parasitic diseases.

The Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad is presented by the President every year. It recognises the service given to Ireland or to Irish communities abroad by those who live outside Ireland.

Donegal TD and government chief whip Joe McHugh welcomed the award for Dr Campbell.

 “My Cabinet colleagues and I approved ten recipients for these 2017 awards at our meeting today and I am delighted to announce that Professor Campbell is one of them,” he said.

 “He has already been recognised by his international peers through the Nobel Prize and I am delighted his country is also recognising his contribution to saving millions of lives around the world.

 “I am personally delighted for Bill, for his family in Ramelton and for the people of the town and the county.”

 Minister McHugh added: “Professor Bill Campbell not only helped to come up with an enormous medical breakthrough, he pushed through the decision of pharma giant Merck to distribute drugs free to millions of people in developing countries.

 “Bill will be bestowed the honour later this year by President Michael D Higgins and I know it will be an event the people of Donegal will look forward to.”