Nobel Prize for Medicine goes to Hepatitis C discovery*
Three scientists who discovered the hepatitis C virus have won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology. The winners are British scientist Michael Houghton and US researchers Harvey Alter and Charles Rice. Their work helped identify the virus – which can cause cirrhosis and liver cancer – and facilitated the development of life-saving blood tests and treatments, said the Nobel Committee.
“For the first time in history, the Hepatitis C virus can now be cured,” reads a tweet from the Nobel Prize account today. “The 2020 Medicine Laureates’ discoveries revealed the cause of the remaining cases of chronic hepatitis and made possible blood tests and new medicines that have saved millions of lives.”
The discovery of the hepatitis C virus is a “landmark achievement in the ongoing battle against viral diseases,” said the Nobel Committee. The work of Alter, Houghton and Rice has improved global health; it has “essentially eliminated post-transfusion hepatitis in many parts of the world,” the committee said, and helped to eradicate the morbidity and mortality associated with the hepatitis C virus around the globe.