This October, University of Alberta virologist Michael Houghton received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, for his role in discovering the Hepatitis C virus; he shares the prize with American colleagues Harvey Alter and Charles Rice. It is the second time that a Canadian scientist has won the prize since it was first awarded to Frederick Banting and John Macleod in 1923. Houghton says, “As nice as [winning the prize is], we’ve been able to prevent millions of infections that otherwise would have occurred around the world through the blood supply.” He notes that approximately 400,000 people have died from Hep C so far this year, worldwide. Dr. Houghton is now leading an effort to produce a COVID-19 vaccine. He was successful in creating a vaccine for SARS-CoV-1 in 2004; however, the pandemic was over before the vaccine could be used.
These researchers repurposed their food disinfection technology to clean N95 masks used in hospitals and long-term care homes.