Bestselling Author of Atomic Habits; Founder of Habits Academy
2020 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine awardee. Speaker Michael Houghton’s have led to the discovery of hepatitis C and the development of a treatment capable of curing a chronic viral infection. Organizations book Michael Houghton for his knowledge in hepatology and hepatitis.
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Science speaker Dr. Michael Houghton received the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine thanks to him discovering the HCV (hepatitis C) virus. He found the virus along with Dr. Harvey Alter.
His discovery of hepatitis C in 1989 with George Kuo and Qui-Lim Choo created a whole new area of viral hepatitis studies. Thanks to such discovery, enhanced hepatitis C treatment became possible. Blood safety was achieved so that such viral infection can now be treated in nearly all patients.
Their research led to new blood donation screening methods. Viruses almost entirely disappeared from the blood supply by the year 1992. Because of this, by 1996, there had been an 80% drop in the amount of recorded transmission per year. In 2010, speaker Michael Houghton joined the Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology at the University of Alberta.
He became the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Virology. Creating an HCV virus vaccine in 2012 gave him, and his colleagues reason to be optimistic about the future. The virus can result in cirrhosis, liver cancer, and end-stage liver disease. Around 20 to 30% of those who contract hepatitis C would experience serious liver disease. This vaccine is currently in the last stages of pre-clinical testing.
The development of antiviral therapies is also due to the virus discovery. Such treatments can cure 95% of those who carry hepatitis C. For the first time in history, we can finally cure a chronic viral infection.
Houghton has lately taken the reins of an attempt to develop a vaccine against COVID-19. In addition, he had developed an effective vaccine against the SARS-CoV-1 virus in 2004, which was never used since the infection had vanished.
Along with his job as the Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute’s director, Houghton also holds the Li Ka Shing Professor of Virology title. He is also the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology professor at the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry.
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