Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

10/16/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 10/16/2020 10:38

Nobel Prize for Medicine awarded to three virologists for discovering hepatitis C virus

Special Nobel Prize 2020. This year the award for excellence in Medicine is awarded jointly to Harvey James Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M. Rice who discovered the hepatitis C virus. Professor Antonio Gasbarrini discusses the prize.

The prestigious Nobel Prize was established in 1901 so 2020 marks its 119th edition. The Nobel Prizes in the categories of Medicine or Physiology, Physics, Chemistry, Literature, Peace and Economics are respectively announced from October 5 to 12.

Cattolicanews publishes opinions from the University's professors regarding these prestigious international awards, attributed to laureates who have distinguished themselves in the various fields of human knowledge and who have benefited humanity with their research.

Professor Antonio Gasbarrini, Full Professor of Internal Medicine at Università Cattolica, Campus of Rome, and Director of the Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences at the Agostino Gemelli IRCCS University Hospital Foundation, discusses the Nobel Prize in Medicine jointly awarded to three scholars: the American researcher, virologist and physician Harvey James Alter from the National Institutes of Health, the British scientist Michael Houghton from the University of Alberta and the American virologist Charles M. Rice from Rockefeller University who all contributed to the discovery and study of the hepatitis C virus.

A 'revolutionary discovery for Italy, hard hit by this disease. Identifying the cause of these previously 'mysterious' hepatitis has changed the treatment of many patients but, above all, it has led to the explosion of research and the discovery of new direct-acting antiviral agents '. These are considered the 'jewel' drugs against hepatitis C that today 'make it possible to eradicate the disease in over 90% of cases after only 8 weeks of oral therapy ', enthusiastically comments Professor Gasbarrini.