The Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded jointly to an American-British trio, consisting of Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M. Rice, for the discovery of the hepatitis C virus.
The Nobel Assembly said in a press release on Monday that the three scientists “made fundamental discoveries that led to the identification of a new virus.”
He said the trio “made a decisive contribution to the fight against blood-borne hepatitis, a major global health problem that causes cirrhosis and liver cancer worldwide.”
Globally, an estimated 71 million people are chronically infected with the hepatitis C virus, according to the World Health Organization. A significant number of those who are chronically infected will develop cirrhosis or liver cancer.
Gilbert Thompson, professor emeritus of clinical lipidology at Imperial College London, told CNN: Ã¢ â¬ ÅItÃ¢ â¬ TMs long overdue. Hepatitis C has caused as many, if not more, deaths than the current coronavirus pandemic. It was a major problem and this work was a huge step forward.
Methodical studies of transfusion-associated hepatitis, conducted by American scientist Alter, have shown that an unknown virus was a common cause of chronic hepatitis.
Houghton, a British scientist, has used an as yet untested strategy to isolate the genome of a new virus called Hepatitis C.
Rice, another American, provided final evidence that the hepatitis C virus can cause hepatitis.
Alfred Nobel – the inventor of dynamite – created in 1895 a fund to give most of his fortune to those who serve mankind. Today, the Nobel Prize recognizes outstanding achievements in the fields of physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, peace, and the economic sciences. Between 1901 and 2019, almost 600 prizes were awarded.