Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton, and Charles M. Rice were awarded Nobel Prize 2020 in Physiology or Medicine “for the discovery of Hepatitis C virus”, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced Monday.

Three scientists made seminal discoveries that led to the identification of a novel virus, Hepatitis C, according to a press release by the academy.

The statement added: “The discovery of Hepatitis C virus revealed the cause of the remaining cases of chronic hepatitis and made possible blood tests and new medicines that have saved millions of lives.”

For the first time in history, the disease can now be cured, raising hopes of eradicating Hepatitis C virus from the world population, it added.

Viral Hepatitis B and C kill more than a million people each year worldwide.

Hepatitis ranks the second deadliest among infectious diseases despite being preventable or even curable, but most people are completely unaware they are infected.

Around 71 million people have chronic Hepatitis C virus infection globally, according to the World Health Organization.

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