Hong Kong – Li Guoqiao was a village doctor in China's southwestern Yunnan province in 1974 when the government asked him to try using an herbal drug, artemisinin, to treat malaria patients.
What followed was one of China's first clinical trials using the herb, and the results were startling. All 18 patients felt better within hours and recovered a few days later.
"Within 2 hours, their fever came under control. One of them was a woman who had just suffered a miscarriage and was unconscious when she was brought in. She recovered," said Li, now a professor at the Tropical Medicine Institute in Guangzhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in southern China.
By Tan Ee Lyn
11 December 2006