he noble jury said that Harvey Alter and Charles Rice of America and Michael Houghton of Britain have won the Nobel Medicine Prize on Monday for the discovery of the Hepatitis C virus.
“For the first time in history, the disease can now be cured, raising hopes of eradicating Hepatitis C virus from the world population, the discovery of Hepatitis C virus 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 Noble committee said.
According to the World Health Organisation there are to be around 70 million Hepatitis C infections globally, causing around 400,000 deaths each year.
Alter was credited for his pioneering work studying the occurrence of hepatitis in patients who had received blood transfusions, determining that their illness was neither Hepatitis A or B.
Houghton built on Alter’s work to isolate the genetic sequence of the new virus.
Rice subsequently completed the puzzle by using genetic engineering to prove that it was the new strain alone — Hepatitis C — that was causing patients to get sick.
The three laureates will share the Nobel prize sum of $1.1 million.
They were to receive the prize from King Carl XVI Gustaf at a formal ceremony in Stockholm on December 10. But, due to the Pandemic they will receive it at their home countries through a televised ceremony.