The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been jointly awarded to Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M. Rice “for the discovery of Hepatitis C virus.”

The award is one of the most sought-after global accolades and grants entry into one of the most prestigious clubs in the world.

The Nobel Assembly said in a news release Monday that the three scientists “made seminal discoveries that led to the identification of a novel virus.”

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 Nobel Assembly said the three scientists “made seminal discoveries that led to the identification of a novel virus.”

Gilbert Thompson, professor emeritus of clinical lipidology at Imperial College London, said: “It’s long overdue.

Hep C arguably has caused just as much, if not more deaths, than the current coronavirus pandemic.

It was a major problem and this (work) was an enormous step forward.”

The methodical studies of transfusion-associated hepatitis by US scientist Alter demonstrated that an unknown virus was a common cause of chronic hepatitis.

Houghton — a British scientist — used an untested strategy to isolate the genome of the new virus that was named Hepatitis C.Rice, another American, provided the final evidence showing that Hepatitis C virus alone could cause hepatitis.