Google honoured Dr Wu Lien-teh, a Chinese Malaysian epidemiologist who discovered the N95 mask over a hundred years ago, with a personal artwork on their search graffiti.
The N95 mask was originally invented due to the deadly status of the Manchurian plague that struck China over a century ago. This prompted Wu to develop a sort of protection against the highly infectious disease that had claimed over 60,000 lives at the time.
Working towards that end, Wu developed a surgical face covering, made of cotton and gauze to filter the air people inhaled. This was the inception of the mask we know as the N95 mask today, which is heavily used to prevent people from contracting COVID-19.
Wu was the first-ever person of Chinese descent to attend Cambridge University. He was later appointed as the vice director of the Army Medical College in 1908. He was also notably awarded the 1935 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine due to his work on the possibility of controlling the pneumonic plague.
The Chinese Malaysian practised medicine up until the final years of his life, and eventually passed away due to a stroke in 1960 at the age of 80.
It is his work that has encouraged the developments of facial protection not only for consistent use for medical practitioners but also for the common people. Most can now be seen having N95 masks on their faces to reduce contamination and exposure to the coronavirus pandemic that still hasn’t been eradicated yet.