The Nobel Committee on Monday announced this year's Nobel prize for medicine jointly to US researchers Harvey J. Alter and Charles M. Rice and British scientist Michael Houghton “for the discovery of Hepatitis C virus.”
The Nobel Prize committee said their discoveries ultimately "saved millions of lives".
It said the trio had "made a decisive contribution to the fight against blood-borne hepatitis, a major global health problem that causes cirrhosis and liver cancer in people around the world."
The virus is a common cause of liver cancer and a major reason why people need a liver transplant.
"The Nobel Laureates’ discovery of Hepatitis C virus is a landmark achievement in the ongoing battle against viral diseases," it said, adding," 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.
The Committee said that due to their discovery it allowed rapid development of anti-viral drugs directed at hepatitis C.
"For the first time in history, the disease can now be cured, raising hopes of eradicating Hepatitis C virus from the world population," it added.