Source: China State Council Information Office
Three scientists share the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, the Nobel committee announced in Brussels on Monday.
The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet has today decided to award the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly to Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M. Rice “for the discovery of Hepatitis C virus.”
“For the first time in history, the Hepatitis C virus can now be cured. The 2020 Medicine Laureates’ discoveries 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 committee said.
Thomas Perlmann, secretary-general of the Nobel Committee and the Nobel Assembly, told a press conference that he was able to reach two of the three laureates, and when they were informed of the news, they were “extremely surprised, happy, and almost speechless.”
This year’s Nobel Prize is awarded to three scientists who 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. Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M. Rice made seminal discoveries that led to the identification of a novel virus, Hepatitis C virus.
Prior to their work, the discovery of the Hepatitis A and B viruses had been critical steps forward, but the majority of blood-borne hepatitis cases remained unexplained. 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, according a statement released by the committee.
Harvey J. Alter, born in 1935 in the U.S., received his medical degree at the University of Rochester Medical School, and worked at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Michael Houghton, born in the UK, received his PhD degree from King’s College London, and is currently a Canada Excellence Research Chair in Virology. Charles M. Rice, born in 1952 in the U.S., received his PhD degree from the California Institute of Technology, is working at the Rockefeller University, New York, according to a statement from the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet.
According to the Nobel Foundation earlier, this year’s prize is 10 million Swedish krona (about 1.12 million U.S. dollars), which will be equally shared among the three laureates.