Americans Harvey Alter and Charles Rice as well as Briton Michael Houghton win the 2020 Nobel Medicine Prize for the discovery of Hepatitis C virus. Photo by JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP via Getty Images.
Three scientists — Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M. Rice — have won the Nobel Prize for their discovery of the Hepatitis C virus, a blood-borne liver disease that infects millions every year.
Why it matters: Before the scientists' discovery, many liver problems went 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 Nobel Prize committee said.
The Associated Press notes that the medicine prize carried "particular significance this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has highlighted the importance that medical research has for societies and economies around the world."