Nobel Prize of Medicine awarded to scientists who discovered hepatitis C virus

The 2020 Nobel Prize of Medicine has been awarded jointly to trio of pioneers Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M. Rice for the discovery of hepatitis C virus.

It’s with great excitement that we received the news today that Dr Harvey J. Alter (National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA), Dr Charles M. Rice (Rockefeller University, New York, NY, USA), and leading CanHepC researcher Dr Michael Houghton (University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada) have been jointly awarded the Nobel Prize of Medicine 2020 for the discovery of hepatitis C virus.

The scientists have received the highest honor for their landmark achievement of the discovery of the hepatitis C virus, leading to the development of highly sensitive blood tests for the virus and eventually to new antiviral treatment. This is a recognition of a life-long body of work that has had a tremendous impact of the fight against viral disease paving the way and raising hopes for global hepatitis C elimination efforts.

But the fight is not over, while hepatitis C is still a global health concern critical public health, social, clinical and biological challenges remain to reach hepatitis C elimination. Sustained efforts need to be invested in prevention, reaching the undiagnosed and providing treatment and care to those who need it. Additionally, continued research investments are crucially needed to adequately inform practices, and program responses to improve outcomes on all stages of the hepatitis C cascade of care, as for vaccine development which remains at the center of hepatitis C elimination efforts.

On behalf of CanHepC we would like to extend our warmest congratulations to all three Nobel Prize awardees and thank them for their extraordinary contribution in advancing hepatitis C research globally.