Celebrating the Nobel Prize in Medicine
Today, the Canadian Liver Foundation celebrates the conferral of the Nobel Prize in Medicine to Drs. Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton, and Charles M. Rice for the discovery of the Hepatitis C virus. This prestigious recognition is very well deserved, and the awareness it brings to the issue of liver research and care is sorely needed.
The discovery of the Hepatitis C virus by these distinguished individuals has led to breakthroughs in the diagnosing of Hepatitis C as well as in the treatment of it. Now there are blood tests and effective antiviral drugs that cure the disease, saving the lives of millions of people living with Hepatitis C around the world.
Hepatitis C is common worldwide, with an estimated 250,000 Canadians living with it currently. Yet, many don’t know they are infected. In fact, some people live 20 to 30 years without any symptoms! Approximately 75% of people who are infected with Hepatitis C develop chronic infection. It is also the leading cause of cirrhosis, liver cancer, and liver transplants.
Today’s Nobel Prize recognition marks a key moment in the conversation around Hepatitis C and liver disease. It is a strong statement on the importance of investing in research and care and reminds us of just how common hepatitis and other liver diseases really are.
Even with vital contributions such as the one that was recognized by the Nobel committee yesterday, we know that there is much work still to be done as we create a world without liver disease. We are proud to be part of the effort.