For scientists, piecing the puzzle together may take many years of tedious labour. When the pieces finally click, it may be a breakthrough discovery, as it was for three laurates of 2020 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine – Harvey Alter from the US National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland; Michael Houghton, from the University of Alberta in Canada; and Charles Rice from the Rockefeller University in New York City; who discovered hepatitis C, a virus that causes hundreds of thousands of deaths a year.
Up to 1989, the cause of „non-A non-B hepatitis” was not known. Alter studied the transmission of hepatitis, or liver inflammation, as a result of blood transfusions as early as in 1970s. From there, it took many years and researchers from different labs to finally capture hepatitis C virus. You can read about the steps and obstacles the researchers faced in an article written by one of the laurates here.
We would like to express a word of appreciation for this ground breaking research and remind everyone that breakthroughs take time!
Image source: https://www.nobelprize.org/