Three scientists have been announced as the winners of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for the discovery of Hepatitis C virus,” the Nobel Committee announced Monday.
The findings by scientists Harvey Alter, Charles Rice and Michael Houghton have made it more likely that the hepatitis C virus will now be completely eradicated, the Nobel Assembly said.
“Prior to their work, the discovery of the hepatitis A and B viruses had been a major breakthrough,” the Karolinska Institute in Sweden said in a statement announcing the award of the 10 million Swedish kroner ($1.1 million) prize.
“The discovery of the hepatitis C virus revealed the cause of long-lasting cases of chronic hepatitis and made possible blood tests and new drugs that have saved millions of lives.
While this year’s Nobel Prize will be awarded according to the usual schedule, the process has been changed because of the pandemic.
The Nobel Foundation cancelled its traditional banquet, which is crucial for the December celebrations, and will present the medals and diplomas at a televised event.
This year’s winners will be invited to celebrate with the 2021 laureates, assuming the pandemic is under control by then.
The Medicine Prize is the first of the Nobel Prizes to be awarded each year. The awards for achievements in Science, Peace and Literature have been given since 1901 and were created at the will of the inventor and entrepreneur of dynamite, Alfred Nobel.
(With information from Reuters)
Edited by Jorge Luis Lora Moran