Nobel Prize winner Tu Youyou combed ancient Chinese texts for malaria cure

This photo taken in the 1950s shows Tu Youyou, right, a young pharmacologist with the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences in Beijing.

Story highlights

  • Scientist Tu Youyou combed ancient Chinese texts for a malaria cure
  • Her research has earned her the highest accolade in medicine -- the Nobel Prize

(CNN)In the turmoil of China's Cultural Revolution, scientist Tu Youyou joined a covert mission to find a cure for malaria.

"Project 523," was set up in 1967 by Chairman Mao Zedong, who wanted to help Communist troops fighting in the mosquito-ridden jungles of Vietnam, where they were losing more soldiers to malaria than bullets.
"We needed a totally new structured antimalarial to deal with the drug resistance. I