Americans, Briton Receive 2020 Nobel Laureates for Medicine

Nobel prize 2020 Nobel prize 2020 winners 2020 Nobel prize winner Nobel prize in medicine winner Nobel prize in medicine 2020 winner Harvey J Alter Charles M Rice Michael Houghton Nobel awards 2020

Announcing the prize in Stockholm, the Nobel Committee noted that the trio's work helped explain a major source of blood-borne hepatitis that couldn't be explained by the previously discovered hepatitis A and B viruses. Houghton, 69, was born in Britain and worked on hepatitis at the Chiron California before moving to the University of Alberta in Canada.

At the turn of the millennium, in 2000, Alter and Houghton were first awarded the Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research.

In this highly exceptional year, where conversation about virology has moved out of textbooks and classrooms to every dinner table around the world, the topic could not be more germane.

Thomas Perlmann (R), secretary of the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet, announces the winners of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in Stockholm, Sweden, October 5, 2020.

"It's a great honour", Houghton said following the announcement Monday. But look a little more closely, the conversation that followed after the early morning phone calls felt a little different.

Figure 2 Summary of the discoveries awarded by this year's Nobel prize. The university's unique approach to science has led to some of the world's most revolutionary and transformative contributions to biology and medicine. "As president of the University of Alberta, the institution where he has dedicated his time, I am proud and exhilarated that his work has been recognized in this way".

The first methodical studies on identifying the disease began in the mid-1970s, with Harvey J. Alter, then Chief of the Infection Disease Section, Department of Transfusion Medicine at the United States' National Institutes of Health (NIH). Michael Houghton used an untested strategy to isolate the genome of the new virus that was named Hepatitis C virus. "They've been a wonderful host for me". Several are now available, and in combination they can cure the vast majority of people with hepatitis C after a short course of treatment with virtually no toxicity. It shows what can be done if people work together and bring different expertise to a common problem.

"I honestly believe students need to find what they're really motivated to do because if you have that passion, you're likely to be successful and to have an enjoyable life where you can contribute to society". And all of that is harder for non-white scientists to accomplish, he says, when there are constant "push backs" from gatekeepers who tend to offer opportunities to those researchers who look like themselves or who fit their expectations of who does good science. In the 1980's, thousands of Canadians were infected with hepatitis C from infected blood products. Steven Dickman, CEO of CBT Advisors, pointed out on Twitter how rare it is for the prize in physiology or medicine to be handed to someone in a biotechnology company. Although unusual, a prior instance occurred recently when William C. Campbell, PhD, won in 2015 for the discovery of the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin-a treatment for the debilitating diseases of river blindness and lymphatic filariasis-while working at Merck & Co.

Stavros Katsanevas, director of the European Gravitational Observatory, whose Virgo gravitational wave antenna played a key role in the science behind the 2017 physics prize, is of two minds about the Nobels. First and foremost, the overwhelming numbers of white, male Nobelists does not represent the diversity that is present among top scientists making important discoveries around the world.

However, despite remarkable progress, the disease still affects over 70 million people every year, killing 400,000.

But the attention that the winners gave to their colleagues, their teams, and the community, was a welcome message this year.



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