2020 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine
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Science & Technology
10th Oct, 2020
- Americans Harvey J Alter and Charles M Rice, and British scientist Michael Houghton have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology for the discovery of the hepatitis C virus.
- 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.
- 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.
- Their discovery also allowed the rapid development of antiviral drugs directed at hepatitis C.
- Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV): the virus can cause both acute and chronic hepatitis.
- Hepatitis C is a major cause of liver cancer.