Sunday 17 November 2019

Prof Kevin McGuigan wins world prize for research technology

Hubert Murphy

The outstanding scientific work of a former St Joseph's Secondary School student has earned him a share of the 2019 UNESCO-Equatorial Guinea International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences.

Professor Kevin McGuigan, who is based out of the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland-(RCSI) has been rewarded for his cutting-edge research on the development and implementation of solar water disinfection technology (SODIS) to combat waterborne diseases among people without access to safe drinking water in Africa and Asia.

'His approach to this research is unique and pioneering, not only in the laboratory, but especially in the field, among the communities most exposed to waterborne diseases in developing countries. His research group demonstrated the impact using SODIS on childhood diarrhoea in 1996 and then on dysentery. SODIS has since demonstrated its effectiveness against all major waterborne pathogens,' his citation reads.

Kevin's expert work is likely to save thousands upon thousands of lives in the decades ahead.

The former Drogheda student shares the prize with Professor Cato Laurencin (USA) and Professor Youyou Tu (China).

This is the fifth edition of the Prize, which rewards outstanding scientific research projects in the life sciences that have led to an improvement in the quality of human life.

Prof. Laurencin works in stem cell science and more than one million patients worldwide have benefited from his innovative work. His outstanding contributions to the advancement of science have been recognized worldwide.

Prof. Youyou Tu of the Chinese Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, laureate of the 2015 Nobel Prize for Medicine, is recognized for her research into parasitic diseases. She discovered an entirely new anti-malarial treatment, artemisinin, which made possible the treatment of thousands of patients in China in the 1980s.

An international jury of five eminent scientists advised UNESCO on the choice of winners. Its members are: Prof. Vincent Titanji (Cameroon), Prof. Indrani Karunasagar (India), Prof. Wagida Anwar (Egypt), Dr Constantinos Phanis (Cyprus) and Prof. Pathmanathan Umaharan (Trinidad and Tobago).

Prof McGuigan will share a financial award totaling $350,000 and will receive a statuette by the Equatorial Guinean artist Leandro Mbomio Nsue, and a diploma.

The award ceremony will take place at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during the African Union Heads of State Summit in February 2020.

Drogheda Independent