- 2020 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
2020 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
2000 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award
American virologist who is best known for his work that led to the discovery of the hepatitis C virus. In 2000, he won the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award, for Hepatitis C virus and its detection in blood for transfusions.
Education and Work Experience
1956-1960, M.D.at University of Rochester
1987-2018, Associate Director, Department of Transfusion Medicine, NIH Clinical Center 1988-2018, Faculty, NIH Clinical Research Training Program
2019-Present, Thomas London Distinguished Scientific Advisor & Honorific Professor, Baruch S. Blumberg Institute
Honors and Awards
2000, Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award
2002, Member of the United States National Academy of Sciences 2008, NIH Distinguished Investigator Appointment
2013, Canada Gairdner International Award
2020, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Major Academic Achievements
In the mid-1970s, Dr Alter and his research team demonstrated that most post-transfusion hepatitis cases were not due to hepatitis A and hepatitis B viruses. Work by Alter, in collaboration with Bob Purcell, and work by Edward Tabor working simultaneously in another laboratory, proved through transmission studies in chimpanzees that a new form of hepatitis, initially called “non-A, non-B hepatitis” caused the infections. This work eventually led to the discovery of the hepatitis C virus. Later, Alter led a Clinical Center project to store blood samples used to uncover the causes and reduce the risk of transfusion-associated hepatitis. Based on his work, the United States started blood and donor screening programs that lowered the cause of hepatitis due to this risk from 30 percent in 1970 to nearly 0.