Srinagar: The 2020 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded jointly to three scientists- two from the US and the third from the United Kingdom.
The official Twitter handle of the Nobel Prize tweeted on Monday afternoon that the 2020 Nobel Prize had been awarded to Harvey J Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M Rice “for the discovery of Hepatitis C virus.”
As per a brief bio profile of the three physiologosts, Harvey J. Alter was born in 1935 in New York. He received his medical degree at the University of Rochester Medical School, and trained in internal medicine at Strong Memorial Hospital and at the University Hospitals of Seattle. In 1961, he joined the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a clinical associate. He spent several years at Georgetown University before returning to NIH in 1969 to join the Clinical Center’s Department of Transfusion Medicine as a senior investigator.
Michael Houghton was born in the United Kingdom. He received his PhD degree in 1977 from King’s College London. He joined G. D. Searle & Company before moving to Chiron Corporation, Emeryville, California in 1982. He relocated to University of Alberta in 2010 and is currently a Canada Excellence Research Chair in Virology and the Li Ka Shing Professor of Virology at the University of Alberta where he is also Director of the Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute.
Charles M. Rice was born in 1952 in Sacramento, California. He received his PhD degree in 1981 from the California Institute of Technology where he also trained as a postdoctoral fellow between 1981-1985. He established his research group at Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis in 1986 and became full Professor in 1995. Since 2001 he has been Professor at the Rockefeller University, New York. During 2001-2018 he was the Scientific and Executive Director, Center for the Study of Hepatitis C at Rockefeller University where he remains active.
A press release issued by the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute said that Alter, Houghton and Rice had 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, it said.
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, added the statement.
It called Hepatitis, or the liver inflammation disease a global threat to human life.