By Yuliya TalmazanResearchers Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M. Rice have won the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for the discovery of Hepatitis C virus, the committee announced on Monday.
Prior to their work, the committee said, the discovery of the Hepatitis A and B viruses had been critical steps forward, but the majority of blood-borne hepatitis cases was still unexplained.
“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,” the statement shared by the committee said.
Alter and Rice were both born in the US while Hougton was born in the U.K.
An estimated 71 million people have chronic hepatitis C virus infection, according to the World Health Organization. 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.
Thanks to their work, highly sensitive blood tests and antiviral treatments for the virus are now available.
TO CONTINUE READING: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/three-win-nobel-prize-medicine-discovery-hepatitis-c-virus-n1242090