Nobel prize in medicine goes to 3 scientists who discovered hepatitis C virus

Nobel prize in medicine goes to 3 scientists who discovered hepatitis C virus

The Nobel prize in medicine for 2020 has been awarded to Harvey J Alter, Michael Houghton, and Charles M Rice for the discovery of the hepatitis C virus. Announcing the prize in Stockholm on Monday, the Nobel Committee noted that the trio's work helped explain a major source of blood-borne hepatitis that couldn't be explained by the hepatitis A and B viruses.

Their work makes possible blood tests and new medicines that have saved millions of lives, the committee said.

"This year’s Nobel prize is awarded to three scientists who have made a decisive contribution to the fight against blood-borne hepatitis, a major global health problem that causes cirrhosis and liver cancer in people around the world," the committee said in a statement.

"The 2020 Nobel prize laureates Harvey J Alter, Michael Houghton, and Charles M Rice made seminal discoveries that led to the identification of a novel virus, hepatitis C," it said.

“Thanks to their discovery, highly sensitive blood tests for the virus are now available and these have essentially eliminated post-transfusion hepatitis in many parts of the world, greatly improving global health,” the committee said.

“Their discovery also allowed the rapid development of antiviral drugs directed at hepatitis C,” it added. “For the first time in history, the disease can now be cured, raising hopes of eradicating hepatitis C virus from the world population.”