Nobel Prize in Medicine Awarded to Three Scientists for Discovery of Hepatitis C Virus

The trio of scientists who discovered Hepatitis C medicine have now been rewarded and recognised  for their an achievement in effort to fight viral infections

Yesterday October 5th 2020, a trio of scientists from the U.S. and the U.K. won this year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of the hepatitis C virus, a major cause of liver cancer.

The Americans Harvey J. Alter and Charles M. Rice, and Briton Michael Houghton were awarded the prize for “a landmark achievement in our ongoing battle against viral infections,” the Nobel Assembly said.

These scientists 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 Assembly said.

Hepatitis is a disease marked by inflammation of the liver. Before the prizewinning research in the 1970s, researchers had discovered two forms of the disease. Hepatitis A was transmitted via polluted water or food, while hepatitis B spread through the blood.

But doctors and researchers couldn’t explain most bloodborne hepatitis cases. These mysterious cases were especially insidious, because infections often became chronic, which can lead to liver failure and cancer.

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