For the discovery of the Hepatitis C virus, the Nobel Prize in Medicine has been jointly awarded to Harvey J Alter, Michael Houghton, and Charles M Rice. On Monday the 2020 Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded at Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet.
In a news release by the Nobel Assembly on Monday said that three scientists “made seminal discoveries that led to the identification of a novel virus.” It further stated that the trio had made decisive contributions to the fight against blood-borne hepatitis which is a major global health problem that causes cirrhosis and liver cancer in people around the world.
According to a Global estimation by the World Health Organisation (WHO) around 71 million people have chronic hepatitis C. Add on to it the fact that a significant number of those who are chronically infected will develop cirrhosis or liver cancer.
The methodical studies of transfusion-associated hepatitis by Alter (US Scientist) were able to demonstrate that the common cause of chronic hepatitis. The British scientist Houghton used an untested strategy to even isolate the genome of the new virus which was named Hepatitis C. Rice, yet another American scientist was able to provide the final evidence which showed that the Hepatitis C virus alone could cause hepatitis.
This award is one of the most coveted global accolades which grants entry into one of the most prestigious clubs in the world. In 1895, Alfred Nobel created a fund that would give a large portion of his fortune to those serving humanity.
Presently, the Nobles recognise outstanding achievements in the fields of Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, Peace, and Economic Sciences. However, the Nobel Prizes for Chemistry, Physics, and Medicine are considered as the zenith of scientific achievement- honouring great minds and life-changing discoveries.
The Nobel Prize for Physics will be announced on Tuesday and the same for Chemistry will be announced on Wednesday. This will be followed by the Nobel Prize for Literature on Thursday, Peace on Friday, and Economic Sciences the next Monday.
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