The Nobel Prize season kicked off on Monday with the first award, the prize for medicine, going to Americans Harvey Alter and Charles Rice, and British scientist Michael Houghton for their discovery of the Hepatitis C virus.
The medicine prize has taken on a special significance in this year of Covid-19, as the pandemic and the hunt for a vaccine highlight the importance of medical research.
The discovery of the hepatitis virus has been described as a landmark breakthrough in the fight against viruses. The World Health Organization estimates there are over 70 million cases of hepatitis worldwide and 400,000 deaths each year.
The medicine award is the first of six prizes being announced until Oct 12. The other prizes are for outstanding work in the fields of physics, chemistry, literature, peace and economics.
The prestigious awards come with prize money of over US$1,000,000 (RM4 million) courtesy of a bequest left 124 years ago by the prize’s creator, Swedish inventor of dynamite, Alfred Nobel.
US President Donald Trump has been nominated for the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize for a second time. This nomination was for brokering a historic peace deal between Serbia and breakaway republic Kosovo, signed at the White House on Sept 4.
In a Friday tweet, Magnus Jacobsson, a member of the Swedish Parliament, announced he was nominating Trump and the two European nations for their “joint work for peace through the cooperation agreement signed at the White House”.
On Wednesday, the president was nominated for brokering the peace deal between Israel and the UAE, signed on Aug 13. The Norwegian MP who nominated him said, “I think he has done more trying to create peace between nations than most other Peace Prize nominees.”