Users who accessed Google on Wednesday (10) came across yet another tribute from Doodle. It is a celebration of the 142nd anniversary of the Chinese-Malaysian epidemiologist, Wu Lien-teh, the creator of the surgical mask. The model is considered the predecessor of the N95 mask used today.
Wu was the first student of Chinese descent to study at the prestigious Cambridge University and became deputy director of the Army Medical School in 1908. Two years later, the Chinese government asked Wu to be responsible for investigating a highly contagious disease that has spread across northwest China. The doctor found that it was an extremely lethal pneumonic plague, with a mortality rate of 99.9%, transmitted by droplets of saliva.
To combat the spread, Wu created a cotton and gauze mask, with the aim of filtering the air that people breathed. The Manchurian epidemic, as the disease became known, was eradicated in a few months. Wu’s actions included disinfecting buildings, replacing objects used in patients and quarantine stations.
In recognition of his work, Wu was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1935, being the first Chinese to compete for the award.
It is not the first time that Google pays homage to an important name in the development of medicine. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the search engine has recognized the work of personalities who have made a difference in the medical community, such as Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis, an early advocate of hand washing as a health benefit, and Dr. Virginia Apgar, who developed a quick method to assess newborn health.