3 win Nobel medicine prize for discovering hepatitis C virus

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Americans Harvey J. Alter and Charles M. Rice and British-born scientist Michael Houghton have won the 2020 Nobel Prize in medicine for their discovery of the hepatitis C virus. The chronic disease is a major cause of liver inflammation and cancer. The World Health Organization estimates there are over 70 million cases of hepatitis worldwide and 400,000 deaths each year. The Nobel committee says “thanks to their discovery, highly sensitive blood tests for the virus are now available,” which has greatly reduced the chances of getting hepatitis C through a blood transfusion. The medicine prize carries particular significance this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has highlighted the importance of medical research.