History of Medicine: Hepatitis C Discovery –“A Triumph of Curiosity and Persistence”

MC Ghany et al. Hepatology 2021; 74: 2813-2823. Free Access: The 2020 Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology for the Discovery of Hepatitis C Virus: A Triumph of Curiosity and Persistence

This great little article humanizes and summarizes the discovery of Hepatitis C with first hand accounts and anecdotes.

A couple of interesting points:

  • Until you know the call is from Stockholm (and not a prank), the 4 am call informing you were awarded a Nobel prized is quite irksome
  • All of the Nobel Laureates (none are hepatologists) advocate for a vaccine but note that making it is difficult due to so many quasispecies. Only a fraction of the estimated 72 million persons with chronic HCV infection have been diagnosed and received curative therapy
  • Advice for young people: “There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs…It’s a step-by-step, slow process”
  • Hepatology humor:  “Is life worth living?” “It depends upon the liver.” 
Key milestones in HCV virology and therapeutics. Abbreviation: SVR, sustained virological response.