Hepatitis C virus (HCV) accounts for hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, and liver transplantation.
Hepatitis is the inflammation of liver causing live damage leading to the liver failure. In 1970s, novel causes of hepatitis were being studied and two viruses, called Hepatitis A (HAV) and Hepatitis B (HBV) were discovered.
Both A and B types were found less dangerous but there were many patients with fatal type of liver inflammation. Many patients were found having highest level of death risk but HAV and HAB negative.
Alter and colleagues kept searching novel types of hepatitis especially in patients who received blood transfusions.
They did several experiments on chimpanzees with the infected agents and found there are infection among all transfused tests and all were HAV and HBV negative, led to the discovery of HCV, a novel virus causing the fatal liver inflammation.
Since the discovery of HCV in 1978, improved treatments were introduced and it has been estimated that almost 70+ million lives have been saved in last 6 decades.
Due to this huge life saving discovery of Alter and colleagues, the Noble decided awarded them with Noble prize in 2020, the highest achievement award in science and technology all over the world.