‘Saved millions of lives’: Meet the winners of 2020 Nobel Prize for Medicine

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |

October 5, 2020 5:53:18 pm

Two Americans and a British scientist were awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize for Medicine on Monday for their contribution in identifying the Hepatitis C virus, which causes cirrhosis and liver cancer.

Announcing the prize in Stockholm, the Nobel Committee said that that the work of Harvey Alter, Charles Rice, and Michael Houghton has helped explain a major source of blood-borne hepatitis that couldn’t be explained by the hepatitis A and B viruses.

The committee also said that the work of these three scientists revealed the cause of the remaining cases of chronic hepatitis and made possible blood tests and new medicines that have saved millions of lives.

Who are these winners

Harvey James Alter

Born in 1935, Harvey J Alter is an American medical researcher who has gained worldwide recognition for his work related to discovering the Hepatitis C virus. According to the Nobel Committee, the 85-year-old carried out his prize-winning studies at the US National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, where he remains active to date.

Alter earned his medical degree from the University of Rochester, New York, and completed his postgraduate training in Medicine at the Strong Memorial Hospital, Rochester, and within the University of Washington Hospital system in Seattle. He later also become a clinical associate at the National Institutes of Health.

A proliferative researcher, Alter has over 350 publications in peer-reviewed international journals.

Charles Rice

Charle Rice was born in 1952 in Sacramento, California. He worked on hepatitis at the Washington University in St. Louis.

He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and was also the president of the American Society for Virology from 2002 to 2003.

In 2016, Rice was the recipient of the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award, jointly with Ralf F W Bartenschlager and Michael J Sofia. The 68-year-old currently works at Rockefeller University in New York.

Michael Houghton

Born in 1950, British scientist  Michael Houghton did his studies at the Chiron Corporation in California before moving to the University of Alberta in Canada.

Houghton has also co-authored a series of studies published in 1989-90 that identified hepatitis C antibodies in the blood. He is also the recipient of the Karl Landsteiner Memorial Award (1992), the Robert Koch Prize (1993), and the International Hepatitis Foundation Award (1998)

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