March 10 – Google Doodle!
Today, Google Doodle is celebrating and has dedicated a doodle to celebrate the 142nd
birthday of a Chinese Malaysian epidemiologist Dr. Wu Lien-teh, who invented a surgical
face mask (that are not being used with Covid-19 vaccine) to combat against a deadly virus in China.
Thanks to him, his invention is still relevant in today’s
age when the world is fighting against yet another deadly pandemic: Covid-19.
Here are 10 interesting facts about Dr. Wu Lien-teh and his significant
born into a family of Chinese immigrants in Penang, Malaya
Wu was born in one of the three towns of the Straits
Settlement, Penang. The town was part of the colonies of the United Kingdom.
His father was a goldsmith and an immigrant from Taishan, China, while his
mother’s family belonged to China and was from Hakka heritage. Wu had ten
siblings, four brothers and six sisters.
He received his early education from the Penang Free School.
the Queen’s Scholarship
With the Queen’s Scholarship, Wu enrolled in Emmanuel
College, Cambridge in 1896. He was a really smart student and won several
prizes and scholarships at the university.
a student of the first British Nobel Laureate, Sir Ronald Ross
He spent his initial undergraduate clinical years at St
Mary’s Hospital, London and later continued his studies at the Liverpool School
of Tropical Medicine under the mentorship of Sir Ronald Ross. Sir Ronald Ross
received a Nobel Prize for his work on the transmission of Malaria.
Lien Teh’s wife was a daughter of a revolutionary Chinese leader
After returning to the Straits Settlement in 1903, Wu
married Ruth Shu-chiung Huang, who was a daughter of Wong Nai Siong, a Chinese
revolutionary leader and educator who had migrated to the area from 1901 to
Teh’s Wife was related to Lim Boon Keng, a physician who introduced educational
and social reforms in Singapore
Wu Lien Teh’s wife was the sister-in-law of Lim Boon Keng, a
physician who promoted educational and social reforms in Singapore.
Lien Teh son and wife died in China
In 1907, Dr. Wu Lien Teh family moved to China. During their stay
in the country, Wu’s two sons and wife died. He remarried and had four more
performed his first ever postmortem exam in China on a Japanese woman who had died
from the epidemic
The deadly epidemic broke out in the northern region of
China in the fall of 1910, taking over 60,000 lives just within 4 months.
After arriving at Habin, Dr. Wu performed his first post-mortem
exam on a Japanese infected woman. He found Yersinia Pestis in her body tissues
and concluded that it was a pneumonic plague, which could be transmitted
through human breath or sputum. Earlier, it was believed that the plague could
be transmitted by fleas or rats and not through human contact. His discovery shocked
the scientific community, leaving everyone in disbelief.
convinced Japanese and Russian railway authorities to seize railway operations
in light of the epidemic
After the tragic death of a French Doctor Mesney, who
fiercely opposed Dr. Wu’s theory regarding the plague, Dr. Wu persuaded Russian
and Japanese railway to halt their operations. His well-timed decisions helped
limit the plague from spreading in Northern-East China. However, the fatality
rate continued to rise, as the dead bodies of those who had died due to the epidemic
served as an ideal incubator for the bacteria to grow and mutate.
sent a petition to sanction the cremation of the deceased
With his proposal, authorities cremated about 3000 corpses
and coffins of those who died in the epidemic. His strategy worked, as no
further infection was reported in March, 1911. By the time of the Chinese New
year, the plague was gone!
Wu’s work on plague prevention was praised by scientific community
Following the advice of Dr. Wu, renowned epidemiologists and
scientists from the USA, UK, Japan, Russia, and France attended the International
Plague Conference, and Dr. Wu was elected as President of the conference.
His work regarding plague prevention was widely praised by
all. In fact, he continued to fight against the plague in 1921, and
successfully eradicated the epidemic from the region.
Dr. Wu Lien
Teh Mask Design N95: he invented N95 Face mask
In an attempt to prevent the plague from further
transmission, Wu designed and invented an exclusive surgical mask with gauze
and cotton. He added several layers of cloth to filter out viral and bacterial
microbes during inhalation. He emphasized wearing it on a daily basis,
especially when going out in the public.
Dr. Wu also advised government officials to establish
quarantine-stations, limit transportation, and adopt modern sterilization
techniques; his contribution helped the government stamp out the pandemic by
passed away at the age of 81
Dr. Wu wrote and published an autobiography called “Plague
Fighter: The Autobiography of a Modern Chinese Physician” in his later years in
For his work in Dr. Lien The IOP Clinic, he was regarded as
the “father of modern medicine” in China. He passed away on January 10, 1960. Dr.
Wu Lien-Teh’s society, scientific and medical communities, as well as the whole
world mourned his death deeply.
The Times London wrote an obituary stating, “By his death,
the world of medicine has lost a heroic and almost legendary figure and the
world at large one of whom it is far more indebted to than it knows.”
Till this day, scientific community honors the memories of
Dr. Wu Lien the plague-fighter and adopts his methods to fight against the
Happy Birthday, Dr. Wu Lien Teh, thank you for your
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