He was born 142 years ago, he is remembered because he conceived the surgical masks to fight the plague in Manchuria at the beginning of the twentieth century
Wu Lien-teh was a Malaysian doctor, best known for being one of the major proponents of the use of surgical masks for the prevention of airborne disease transmission. Particularly during the Manchurian plague, in China, he developed a type of cotton wool mask that contributed to the end of the epidemic, in 1911. Wu Lien-teh is the protagonist of today’s Google doodle, that is the image that replaces the classic logo on the homepage.
Wu Lien-teh was born on March 10, 1879 in Penang, Malaysia, to parents of Chinese origin, and studied medicine at the University of Cambridge, England. He started working in Europe, after a few years he first returned to Malaysia and then moved to China. In 1908 he was appointed deputy director of the military school of medicine of the Chinese Empire and two years later he was sent to Manchuria to study and identify a mysterious disease that turned out to be a pneumonic plague, which killed around 60,000 people in two. years.
In 1915 Wu founded the first non-governmental medical association and in 1935 he became the first Malaysian person to be nominated for the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work in fighting the plague in Manchuria. In the last years of his life he returned to live in Malaysia, and died in Penang on January 21, 1960.