Stockholm [Sweden], October 6 (ANI): Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology 2020 was jointly awarded to the three scientists who discovered the Hepatitis C virus.
Americans Harvey J Alter and Charles M Rice, and British-born Michael Houghton were laureated on Monday as this year's winners for the medical breakthrough, reported Euro News.
In a statement, the Nobel Assembly said the isolation of Hepatitis C had marked a "landmark achievement in the ongoing battle against viral diseases" and had resulted in the creation of a specific testing regimen and cures to tackle the illness around the world.
This year's award for the medicine also marks the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic across the world and highlighting the importance of science and medical research.
Alter carried out his studies at the US National Institutes of Health in Bethesda. Meanwhile, Rice worked at the Washington University in St Louis before moving to Rockefeller University in New York. Michael Houghton undertook his studies at the Chiron Corporation in California before moving to the University of Alberta in Canada, reported Euro News.
The discovery of Hepatitis C in the late 1980s came as scientists grew increasingly concerned that tests for the Hepatitis B virus accounted for only a minority of the hepatitis cases resulting from a blood transfusion. Hepatitis A, meanwhile, is not a blood-borne illness and can be spread through close personal contact. Charles Rice completed the discovery by gathering evidence to prove Hepatitis C alone could cause chronic hepatitis.
The bodily effect of Hepatitis C is devastating when left untreated, and can ultimately be life-threatening. Primarily attacking the liver, the virus can lead to serious scarring, known as cirrhosis, or cause deadly liver failure and cancer.
The three scientists will receive a gold medal for their Nobel award, along with prize money of 10 million Swedish kronor (Euro 956,000). This amount was recently increased to adjust for inflation. (ANI)