That’s one point for science.
I’m talking about the recent Nobel prize awarded to three scientists for their discovery of the Hepatitis C virus in 1989 and subsequent work on it over several decades.
Thanks to the efforts of Americans Harvey J. Alter, Charles M. Rice and British-born Michael Houghton, the virus now can be cured in a few months using one of several drugs. Barring treatment, Hepatitis C can lead to permanent liver scarring, liver cancer or a transplant.
Their research also led to a test to screen blood donors and improve the safety of the blood supply. Prior to testing, 1 in 10 blood transfusions carried a risk of passing on the virus; now it’s 1 in a million, Dr. Jesse Goodman of Georgetown University told the Associated Press.
This year’s Nobel prize has particular meaning given another pertinent scientific discovery in the works: the quest for a vaccine for the coronavirus. Without the work of scientists, we would not have the cure for Hepatitis C. The same principle applies to a COVID-19 vaccine.
Science has been winning a lot of arguments lately. Take our president’s recent contraction of the coronavirus. It’s not, well, rocket science, to figure out how he may have caught it. He’s not fond of wearing masks, a key mitigation strategy advocated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By the way he conducted himself and the White House, it seemed that he thought he was not capable of contracting it. That is not to say that I am in any way glad he caught the virus. I also hope he recovers and thrives.
But his catching the virus means he was not immune from it, as the world has seen. The scientists, of course, who have advocated tirelessly for the importance of wearing masks, social distancing and hand washing, knew otherwise.
Make that another point for science.
Liza Berger is Senior Editor of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News. Follow her @LizaBerger19.