15 Nov 2006

US scientist linked to Samoa study wins award

2:50 pm on 15 November 2006

A US scientist who plans to produce an anti-AIDS drug using a tree found in Samoa has been picked for an award.

Jay Keasling of the University of Berkeley in California was selected as scientist of the year by Discover media.

Mr Keasling recently made headlines for his work with AIDS treatment research.

He has plans to produce Prostratin, an anti-AIDS drug, which comes from the native mamala tree in Samoa.

In August 2004, Mr Keasling traveled to Samoa with ethnobotanist Paul Alan Cox to sign an agreement that gives a share of any profits from the production of Prostratin directly to the Samoans, since they first discovered and used the drug.

Mr Keasling and his associates are also working to find a cure for malaria, a disease that kills three million people a year.