The 2020 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was on Monday awarded jointly to three scientists “for the discovery of Hepatitis C virus.”
The Nobel Committee in a statement announcing the winners said, “Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M. Rice made seminal discoveries that led to the identification of a novel virus, Hepatitis C virus.”
9 million kronor ($1 million U.S.) cash award will equally be shared among the three winners.
The jury said that the three scientists “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.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 71 million people have chronic hepatitis C virus infection.
A significant number of those who are chronically infected will develop cirrhosis, scarring of the liver caused by long-term liver damage, or liver cancer.
The American Scientists made a significant contribution to Hepatitis C research, with much of their work dating back to the 1970s and 1980s.