Robert Koch Award 2015, together with Ralf Bartenschlager
The Robert Koch laureate Dr. Charles M. Rice, is Scientific and Executive Director of the interdisciplinary “Center for the Study of Hepatitis C” at The Rockefeller University, New York, USA. The second laureate, Professor Ralf Bartenschlager is Executive Director of the Department of Molecular Virology at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. Both laureates are credited with helping to understand the HCV lifecycle, identifying promising antiviral targets, and establishing reproducible cell culture systems for basic studies that could also be used for drug screening and testing.
In chronic cases, HCV infection can result in liver cirrhosis and cancer. With new treatment options catalyzed by these basic discoveries, it is now possible to eliminate the virus permanently in the vast majority of patients treated. Worldwide, approximately 170 million people are infected with HCV, including an estimated 400,000 to 500,000 people in Germany.