BREAKING NEWS:The 2020 #NobelPrize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded jointly to Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M. Rice “for the discovery of Hepatitis C virus.” pic.twitter.com/MDHPmbiFmS— The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) October 5, 2020
Americans Harvey J Alter and Charles M Rice, and British scientist Michael Houghton were awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology on Monday for the discovery of the Hepatitis C virus. The head of the Nobel Committee, Thomas Perlmann, announced the winners in Stockholm.
"The 2020 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded jointly to Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M. Rice for the discovery of the Hepatitis C virus," the winners were announced in a tweet.
The World Health Organisation estimates there are over 70 million cases of hepatitis worldwide and 400,000 deaths each year. The disease is chronic and a major cause of liver inflammation and cancer.
The medicine prize carries particular significance this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has highlighted the importance that medical research has for societies and economies around the world.
Often the Nobel Assembly recognizes basic science that has laid the foundations for practical applications in common use today.
It is common for several scientists who worked in the same field to share the prize. Last year, British scientist Peter Ratcliffe and Americans William Kaelin and Gregg Semenza received the award for discovering details of how the body's cells sense and react to low oxygen levels.
The prestigious award comes with a gold medal and prize money of 10 million Swedish kronor (over $1,118,000), courtesy of a bequest left 124 years ago by the prize's creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel. The amount was increased recently to adjust for inflation.
The other prizes are for outstanding work in the fields of physics, chemistry, literature, peace and economics.
—With inputs from agencies