The Daily Telegraph

Bri­ton awarded Nobel Prize for dis­cov­ery of hepati­tis C

- By Jessica Carpani Health · Science · College · Infectious Diseases · Health Conditions · Higher Education · Alfred Nobel · Houghton · United Kingdom · King's College London · London · World Health Organization · Stockholm · Hepatitis C · Nobel Prize · Scientific Awards

A BRI­TISH scientist has been awarded a Nobel Prize for sav­ing “mil­lions of lives” by dis­cov­er­ing hepati­tis C.

Prof Michael Houghton, who was born in the UK and re­ceived his PHD in 1977 from King’s Col­lege London, has been jointly awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize for Phys­i­ol­ogy or Medicine along­side two other sci­en­tists.

Prof Houghton, who re­lo­cated to the Univer­sity of Al­berta in 2010, and Amer­i­cans Har­vey J Al­ter and Charles M Rice were awarded the prize for the dis­cov­ery of the hepati­tis C virus.

Prior to their work, while the dis­cov­er­ies of the hepati­tis A and B viruses were vi­tal, the ma­jor­ity of blood-borne hepati­tis cases re­mained un­ex­plained.

The iden­ti­fi­ca­tion 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.

Ac­cord­ing to the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion, there are more than 70 mil­lion cases of hepati­tis world­wide and 400,000 deaths each year.

The award, which will be split three ways, comes with a gold medal and prize money of 10 mil­lion Swedish kro­nor (£867,000), cour­tesy of a be­quest left 124 years ago by the prize’s cre­ator, Swedish in­ven­tor Al­fred Nobel.

An­nounc­ing the prize in Stock­holm yes­ter­day, the Nobel Com­mit­tee said: “Thanks to their dis­cov­ery, highly sen­si­tive blood tests for the virus are now avail­able and these have es­sen­tially elim­i­nated post-trans­fu­sion hepati­tis in many parts of the world, greatly im­prov­ing global health.”

It added: “For the first time in his­tory, the dis­ease can now be cured, rais­ing hopes of erad­i­cat­ing hepati­tis C virus from the world pop­u­la­tion.”

Prof Houghton fol­lows in the foot­steps of Baruch Blum­berg, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Phys­i­ol­ogy or Medicine in 1976 for dis­cov­er­ing that one form of blood-borne hepati­tis was caused by a virus that be­came known as hepati­tis B virus.

 ??  ?? Prof Michael Houghton will share the £867,000 prize money with two other sci­en­tists
Prof Michael Houghton will share the £867,000 prize money with two other sci­en­tists

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK