Dear Members and Council of the American Society of Parasitologists,
It is with a sense of terrific honor and pride that I relate to you this morning’s news that Dr. William (“Bill”) Campbell has been recognized with a Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work on the avermictin class of drugs initially derived from Streptomycin avermitilis, which became Ivermectin (a.k.a Mectizan).
Bill has been a long-standing member of the American Society of Parasitologists contributing very much to our Journal, and our meetings in terms of his research and interests. It is also quite likely that Dr. Campbell has contributed more to student travel than any other member; his paintings and illustrations regularly draw vast sums of money at the student auctions, all of which goes to supporting travel by students to meetings.
The recognition of his contributions stem first from work in the 1970s in which he recognized both the untility and the relative lack of side effects of the drug in horses, for example. In 1977 he pressed Merck to begin human trials, and in 1978 doubled down on that pressure noting the probability that the drug would save millions of lives from debilitating blindness caused by Onchocerca volvulus.
On October 1987, Merck declared that it would make Ivermectin freely available world-wide until river blindness was eradicated. Just last week, Mexcio was the latest country to be certified as having eliminated the disease.
Dr. Campbell’s award is fitting, and one that speaks to his deep commitment not only to science but to humanity and to courage.
We are honored and humbled to have Dr. Campbell as a stalwart member of the American Society of Parasitologists.
I personally look forward to congratulating you, Bill, at the Edmonton meetings. Let me know if there are any impediments to your attendance and I will see to their removal.
Curator and Professor, Invertebrates, American Museum of Natural History
President, American Society of Parasitologists
Central Park West at 79th Street, New York, NY 10024