Americans Julius and Patapoutian win 2021 Nobel Prize in Medicine

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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – American scientists David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2021 for their discoveries of receptors for temperature and touch, the awarding body announced on Monday.

Her groundbreaking discoveries “enabled us to understand how heat, cold and mechanical force can trigger the nerve impulses that enable us to perceive and adapt to the world around us,” it says.

“This knowledge will be used to develop treatments for a wide variety of disease conditions, including chronic pain.”

The award, which is more than a hundred years old, is awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and is endowed with 10 million Swedish kronor (1.15 million US dollars).

The prizes for achievements in science, literature and peace were created and financed according to the will of the Swedish dynamite inventor and entrepreneur Alfred Nobel. They have been awarded since 1901; the business award was first awarded in 1969.

The Nobel Prize for Medicine is often overshadowed by the Nobel Prize Winners for Literature and Peace, and their sometimes better-known award winners. But medicine has been brought into the spotlight by the COVID-19 pandemic, and some scientists had suggested that those who developed coronavirus vaccines might be rewarded this year or years to come.

The pandemic continues to haunt the nobel ceremonies, which are usually full of old-world pomp and glamor. The banquet in Stockholm has been postponed for a second year in a row amid ongoing concerns about the virus and international travel.

Last year’s award went to the Americans Harvey Alter and Charles Rice and the British Michael Houghton for their work in identifying the hepatitis C virus who have favourited cirrhosis and liver cancer.

($ 1 = 8.7272 Swedish crowns)

(Reporting by Johan Ahlander, Niklas Pollard in Stockholm, Ludwig Burger in Frankfurt; additional reporting by Terje Solsvik in Oslo and Simon Johnson, Supantha Mukherjee and Anna Ringstrom in Stockholm, editor Timothy Heritage)