scorecardHarvey J Alter, Michael Houghton, and Charles M Rice jointly win the 2020 Nobel Prize in Medicine for the discovery of Hepatitis C virus
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Harvey J Alter, Michael Houghton, and Charles M Rice jointly win the 2020 Nobel Prize in Medicine for the discovery of Hepatitis C virus

Harvey J Alter, Michael Houghton, and Charles M Rice jointly win the 2020 Nobel Prize in Medicine for the discovery of Hepatitis C virus
LifeInternational3 min read
Nobel Prize
  • Harvey J Alter, Michael Houghton, and Charles M Rice won the 2020 Nobel Prize in the field of medicine for discovering Hepatitis C virus.
  • The Nobel Assembly, composed of 50 voting members, will also announce awards for research in physics, chemistry, literature, peace, and economics in the coming days.

The Nobel Prize week has kicked off amid the coronavirus pandemic with the first of the awards going jointly to Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M. Rice “for the discovery of Hepatitis C virus.”According to the Nobel Assembly, these three scientists have contributed significantly in fighting blood-borne hepatitis, a major global health problem that causes cirrhosis and liver cancer.

“The methodical studies of transfusion-associated hepatitis by 2020 Medicine Laureate Harvey J. Alter demonstrated that an unknown virus was a common cause of chronic hepatitis. Michael Houghton – awarded the 2020 NobelPrize in Physiology or Medicine – used an untested strategy to isolate the genome of the new virus that was named Hepatitis C virus. This year’s Medicine Laureate Charles M. Rice provided the final evidence showing that Hepatitis C virus alone could cause hepatitis,” the Nobel Assembly said.


In addition to the award and the prestige that comes with it, the winner also gets a gold medal and 10 million Swedish kronor ($1.18 million)

The Nobel Assembly, composed of 50 voting members, will also announce awards for research in physics, chemistry, literature, peace, and economics in the coming days.

Nobel Prize categoryAward Declaration Date
Physiology or MedicineOctober 5
PhysicsOctober 6
ChemistryOctober 7
LiteratureOctober 8
Peace October 9
Economic SciencesOctober 12

Headquartered at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden's capital city, Stockholm, the Nobel Assembly recognises scientists who have laid down the stepping stones for practical applications of scientific principles in everyday life.

The Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine
Last year, British scientist Peter Ratcliffe and Americans William Kaelin and Gregg Semenza were awarded the Nobel Prize for discovering how cells sense and adapt oxygen levels in the human body.

Between 1901 and 2019, about 110 Nobel Prizes in Physiology or Medicine have been awarded. The youngest recipient of the Nobel Prize for Medicine was Frederick Banting in 1923 for the discovery of insulin when he was just 32 years old.

Another notable winner is Tu Youyou, who won the award in 2015 for developing a new malarial drug called Artemisinin from a traditional Chinese medicine. In the exercise of developing the drug, Youyou tested it on herself to speed up the process and ended up saving the lives of millions.

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