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A US-British trio wins the Nobel Prize in medicine for discovering the liver-ravaging hepatitis C virus [Video]

SHOTLIST

STOCKHOLM, SWEDENOCTOBER 5, 2020SOURCE: AFPTV

1. SOUNDBITE 1 – Thomas Perlmann , Nobel Assembly secretary (male, English, 22 sec): “The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet has today decided to award the 2020 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine jointly to Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M. Rice for the discover of Hepatitis C virus. “

SOLNA, SWEDEN STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN OCTOBER 5, 2020 SOURCE: AFPTV

2. Cutaway: Secretary General of the Nobel Committee Thomas Perlmann making the announcement with photos of the laureates on the screen

BETHESDA, MARYLAND, UNITED STATESOCTOBER 5, 2020SOURCE: NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HEALTHRESTRICTIONS: NO RESALEEDITORIAL USE ONLY

3. SOUNDBITE 2 – Dr. Harvey Alter, Nobel Laureate in Medicine (male, english, 16 sec): “A vaccine is still a goal, but it’s been very difficult to do – just like for HIV, it’s a highly mutable virus, and it’s very difficult to develop an effective immune response for a vaccine, but we’re still hopeful.”

UNDEFINEDOCTOBER 5, 2020SOURCE: HANDOUT / ROCKEFELLER UNIVERSITYRESTRICTIONS: NO RESALE

4. SOUNDBITE 3 – Charles Rice, virologist at the Rockefeller University and co-winner of the 2020 Nobel Medicine Prize (male, English, 23 sec): “The success of these drug treatments for hepatitis C and the fact that you can actually eliminate the virus, you can actually cure people, you can get rid of it, I think has renewed enthusiasm in people to see if we couldn’t achieve that for other chronic viral infections like hepatitis B and HIV.”

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newseriesUS-British trio win Nobel Medicine Prize for Hepatitis C discovery By Pia OHLIN

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ATTENTION – ADDS Rice reax, laureates working on Covid-19 vaccine ///Stockholm, Oct 5, 2020 (AFP) – Americans Harvey Alter and Charles Rice together with Briton Michael Houghton won the Nobel Medicine Prize on Monday for the discovery of the Hepatitis C virus, paving the way for a cure, the Nobel jury said.The three were honoured for their “decisive contribution to the fight against blood-borne hepatitis, a major global health problem that causes cirrhosis and liver cancer in people around the world,” the jury said.The World Health Organization estimates there are around 70 million Hepatitis C infections globally, causing around 400,000 deaths each year. It is characterized by poor appetite, vomiting, fatigue and jaundice.Thanks to the trio’s discoveries, 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”, the Nobel committee said.Their discoveries allowed the rapid development of antiviral drugs directed at Hepatitis C. “For the first time in history, the disease can now be cured, raising hopes of eradicating Hepatitis C virus from the world population,” the jury said.Alter, 85, told the Nobel Foundation he was “in shock” after receiving an early-morning call from the committee, saying he didn’t answer the first two times.”The third time I got up angrily to answer it… and it was Stockholm,” he said.”To see so many people get cured, and nobody getting post-transfusion hepatitis, that’s astounding

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 won the Nobel Prize for medicine on Monday for their discovery of the hepatitis C virus, a major source of liver disease that affects millions worldwide.

Announcing the prize in Stockholm, the Nobel Committee noted that the trio’s work identified a major source of blood-borne hepatitis that couldn’t be explained by the previously discovered hepatitis A and B viruses. Their work, dating back to the 1970s and 1980s, has helped saved millions of lives, the 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,” the committee said.

“Their discovery also allowed the rapid development of antiviral drugs directed at hepatitis C,” 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.”

The World Health Organization estimates there are over 70 million cases of hepatitis C worldwide and 400,000 deaths from it each year. The disease is chronic and a major cause of liver cancer and cirrhosis requiring liver transplants.

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.

Will Irving, a virologist at the University of Nottingham, said that identifying hepatitis C had been the “holy grail” in medicine.

“After hepatitis A and B were discovered in the 1970s, it was clear there was still at least one other virus or more that were causing liver damage,” he said.

“We knew there was a virus in the blood supply, because when people had blood transfusion they would get liver damage,” Irving said. “It was recognized as a risk but there was nothing we could do. We didn’t know what the virus was and we couldn’t test for it.”

Nobel Committee member Patrik Ernfors drew a parallel between this year’s prize and the current rush by millions of scientists around the world to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

“The first thing you need to do is to identify the causing virus,” he told reporters. “And once that has been done, that is, in itself, the starting point for development of drugs to treat the disease and also to develop vaccines against the disorder.”

“So the actual discovery, viral discovery itself, is a critical moment,” said Ernfors.

Unlike hepatitis A, which is transmitted via food or water and causes an acute infection that can last a few weeks, hepatitis B and C are transmitted through blood.

American scientist Baruch Blumberg discovered the hepatitis B virus in 1967 and received the 1976 Nobel Prize in medicine, but this did not explain all cases of chronic hepatitis, a disease that was becoming more common even in apparently healthy people who had received or given blood.

“Before the discovery

Nobel Prize for Medicine awarded to 2 Americans and a Briton for discovering Hepatitis C

Stockholm — Americans Harvey J. Alter and Charles M. Rice, and British scientist Michael Houghton were awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology on Monday for the discovery of the Hepatitis C virus. The head of the Nobel Committee, Thomas Perlmann, announced the winners in Stockholm.
 
The World Health Organization estimates there are over 70 million cases of hepatitis worldwide and 400,000 deaths each year. The disease is chronic and a major cause of liver inflammation and cancer.

The prestigious award comes with a gold medal and prize money of 10 million Swedish kronor (over $1,118,000), courtesy of a bequest left 124 years ago by the prize’s creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel.
 
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.
 
Despite the global interest in medical science and research this year, it was always unlikely that the winners of the 2020 prize would have been directly involved in researching the new virus, as the prize generally goes to discoveries made many years or even decades earlier.


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The award is the first of six prizes being announced through October 12. The other prizes are for outstanding work in the fields of physics, chemistry, literature, peace and economics.

Often the Nobel Assembly recognizes basic science that has laid the foundations for practical applications in common use today.

 Last year, British scientist Peter Ratcliffe and Americans William Kaelin and Gregg Semenza received the award for discovering details of how the body’s cells sense and react to low oxygen levels.

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