Az orvosi Nobel-díjat a hepatitisz C felfedezésért kapta 3 tudós 2020-ban

Az orvosi Nobel-díjat a hepatitisz C felfedezésért kapta 3 tudós 2020-ban

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A Svéd Királyi Tudományos Akadémia a fiziológiai és orvostudományi Nobel-díjjal jutalmazta a 3 tudóst, akik felfedezésükkel emberek millióinak életét mentették meg.

The discovery was "a landmark achievement in the ongoing battle against viral diseases", according to the Nobel Prize committee, delivering the award for physiology or medicine in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M. Rice made seminal discoveries that led to the identification of a novel virus, Hepatitis C virus.

Prior tothe trio's work, while the discoveries of the hepatitis A and B viruses were vital, the majority of blood-borne hepatitis cases were still unexplained.

The identification of the hepatitis C virus revealed the cause of the remaining cases of chronic hepatitis and it led to blood tests and new medicines that have 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."

Hepatitis "is insidious", said the committee, "as otherwise healthy individuals can be silently infected for many years before serious complications arise".

"Blood-borne hepatitis is associated with significant morbidity and mortality, and causes more than a million deaths per year worldwide, thus making it a global health concern on a scale comparable to HIV-infection and tuberculosis."

The hepatitis B virus was discovered in the 1960s by Baruch Blumberg, who would himself win the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1976 for this work.

But when Harvey Alter was working at the US National Institutes of Health, he was finding a large number of blood-transfusion patients were developing hepatitis which he proved conclusively wasn't caused by the B virus.

"It was a great source of concern that a significant number of those receiving blood transfusions developed chronic hepatitis due to an unknown infectious agent," the committee stated.

"Alter and his colleagues showed that blood from these hepatitis patients could transmit the disease to chimpanzees, the only susceptible host besides humans."

This mysterious illness became known as "non-A, non-B" hepatitis, and the priority turned to identifying the virus itself.

Michael Houghton "undertook the arduous work needed to isolate the genetic sequence of the virus", but succeeded in doing so - identifying what became named the hepatitis C virus.

Charles Rice then proved that this virus alone could cause hepatitis in blood transfusion patients by analysing the genome, alongside experiments on chimpanzees.

source: Sky News


ongoing battle

folyamatban lévő/folyamatos csata

prior to

valamit megelőzően


vérrel terjedő fertőző betegség

to reveal


to eliminate



vérátömlesztés utáni




megbetegedési arányszám


halálozási arányszám



unknown infectious agent

ismeretlen fertőző anyag

to transmit




genetic sequence




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