British scientists Michael Houghton, American scientists Harvey Alter and Charles Rice have been awarded the Nobel Prize on 5th October 2020 in the field of medicine.
The Nobel Prize Award Committee said that the discovery of these scientists has saved millions of lives.
Hepatitis C virus causes liver cancer and this is a big reason that people have to have liver transplant.
In the 1960s, it was a matter of great concern that people who used to donate blood from others had an unknown and mysterious disease that caused irritation in their liver.
According to the Nobel Committee, at that time blood transfusion was like ‘Russian Roulette’. This means a dangerous game in which the player puts only one bullet in his revolver and then rotates the cylinder. After that, he treads his revolver on his own. In this game he can be killed and he can be saved.
Such hazards have now been controlled by a very high-grade blood test and anti-virus drugs have also been developed.
According to the Nobel Committee, taking blood from someone in the 1960s was so dangerous that even your life could be lost.
The Nobel Committee said, “For the first time in history, this disease can now be treated, which has increased the expectation of the world to end the Hepatitis C virus.”
But there are still seven crore patients of this virus and around four lakh people die every year from this virus worldwide.
Hepatitis A and hepatitis B were discovered in the 1960s.
But Professor Harvey in the US National Institutes of Health in 1972, while doing research on blood transfusion patients, found that there is another mysterious virus that is doing its job.
The patients taking blood donation were falling ill.
In his research, he found that if infected people were giving their blood to the forest man, then the forest man was getting sick from it.
This mysterious disease came to be known as Non A Non B Hepatitis and its search started.
Professor Michael Houghton was able to identify the genetic chain of the virus in 1989, while working at the pharmaceutical company Shiron.
This showed that it is a type of flavivirus and was named Hepatitis C.
Professor Charles Rice made his last significant discovery about the virus in 1997, while living at Washington University in St. Louis.
He injected the hepatitis C virus into a man’s liver and showed that the man was infected with a hepatitis infection.
The Secretary General of the Nobel Assembly, Professor Tomas Pearlman, said that he is currently able to inform Professor Alter and Professor Rice of the Nobel Prize.
He said, “They did not sit around their phones because I called them many times but did not get an answer. But when they were contacted, they were very shocked and very happy, for a while they said something. Didn’t get it. I loved talking to them. “