This year’s Nobel Prize in physiology was awarded to Dr. Harvey Alter, Dr. Michael Houghton, and Dr. Charles Rice, for their discovery of the Hepatitis C virus.
You may be wondering why they’re being awarded just now; after all, the virus isn’t a new discovery. It turns out this kind of delay is somewhat typical in the case of a Nobel Prize.
Receiving the award this year in particular may also be due to the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has set the spotlight onto viruses.
Although the award is a long time coming, it allows us to look back and celebrate what’s led up to it. A recent article offers an in-depth look at the challenges of identifying the virus and how it’s transmitted, how the doctors’ research has led to a cure, and the ongoing process of trying to develop an effective vaccine.
Read on to learn more about the discovery of the Hepatitis C virus and where we currently stand in the search for a vaccine.
Image of Drs. Alter, Houghton, and Rice, projected at this year’s Nobel Prize ceremony.
Contact our writer – Alysa Salzberg