OREANDA-NEWS. Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to Harvey J. Alter (USA), Michael Houghton (Great Britain) and Charles M. Rice (USA) for the discovery of the hepatitis C virus. They were engaged in work on the discovery and study of the virus in the 1980s.

Alter studied the transmission of hepatitis through blood transfusion. He noted that even after the appearance of tests for hepatitis A and B viruses the number of infected patients did not decrease. Together with a research team, he proved that this is a new type of hepatitis virus. In 1989, an article about the discovery of the virus was published in the journal Science.

In parallel to Alter, Houghton, then an employee of the pharmaceutical company Chiron, was engaged in the study of a previously unknown virus. In 1989 and 1990, he and his colleagues published several articles on the detection of antibodies to the virus. In 2013, his group developed a vaccine against all types of hepatitis viruses.

Rice from the University of Washington in Saint Louis tested the hepatitis C pathogen on chimpanzees. Tests confirmed that the virus discovered by Alter and Houghton is the cause of hepatitis C.