Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.
Baruch S. Blumberg
Born: 28 July 1925, New York, NY, USA
Died: 5 April 2011, Moffett Field, CA, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: The Institute for Cancer Research, Philadelphia, PA, USA
Prize motivation: "for their discoveries concerning new mechanisms for the origin and dissemination of infectious diseases."
Prize share: 1/2
Jaundice stems from inflammation in the liver and is a symptom of different types of hepatitis. At the end of the 1960s Baruch Blumberg unexpectedly discovered an infectious agent for hepatitis B while researching blood proteins from people in different parts of the world. He demonstrated that the infectious agent was linked with a virus of a previously unknown type. The virus can be carried by people who do not become sick from it. These discoveries made possible both vaccines and tests to prevent spreading of the disease through blood transfusions.