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Internationally acclaimed Danish virologist receives the 2022 Hagedorn Prize

The Danish Society of Internal Medicine and the Novo Nordisk Foundation have awarded the 2022 Hagedorn Prize, accompanied by DKK 1.5 million, to Jens Bukh, professor and chief physician, for his research on hepatitis C that has contributed to saving the lives of thousands of people.

Jens Bukh, who heads the Copenhagen Hepatitis C Program at the Department of Infectious Diseases at Copenhagen University Hospital, Amager-Hvidovre and the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at the University of Copenhagen, has contributed to giving thousands of people a better and longer life through his research within hepatitis C.

About 350,000 people a year die from hepatitis C, a disease that just a decade ago was very difficult to treat. Thanks to Jens Bukh’s pioneering research, the disease can now be cured as a result of his research on mapping the six major genotypes of hepatitis C and developing cell systems to develop drugs to combat the disease. The research has also been ground-breaking for understanding genotypes and treatment resistance and will hopefully one day also result in a vaccine that can definitively eliminate hepatitis C worldwide.

For his research at the highest international level, Jens Bukh is now receiving the 2022 Hagedorn Prize. The Prize is accompanied by DKK 1.5 million and is awarded by the Danish Society of Internal Medicine and the Novo Nordisk Foundation as a reward for excellent research or development efforts within internal medicine in Denmark.

“Jens Bukh’s work has been crucial for developing effective drugs that have revolutionised the treatment of people with hepatitis C worldwide, and his research has formed the basis for developing vaccine candidates that can save thousands of lives. This did not seem possible just a few years ago, but Jens Bukh has helped to change this. That is why he is being awarded the Hagedorn Prize,“ says Pia Nimann Kannegaard, Chief Physician and Chair of the Board of the Danish Society of Internal Medicine.

Jens Bukh says: “I have previously received other prizes, but I am especially honoured to receive this Prize, because I have been nominated by my colleagues from the Danish Society of Infectious Diseases and the Danish Society of Internal Medicine. It touches me that my colleagues greatly appreciate the contribution I have made to basic, translational and clinical research.”

Quickly began research on COVID-19
Although Jens Bukh’s research on hepatitis C spans much of his research career, the professor and chief physician has devoted much of his time over the past 2 years to researching SARS-CoV-2.

When SARS-CoV-2 began to spread around the world, Jens Bukh was quick to establish a laboratory at Copenhagen University Hospital, Amager-Hvidovre, where researchers could grow and study viruses and create human cell systems to investigate how various drugs affect SARS-CoV-2, and to study immunity to the disease.

Together with colleagues, Jens Bukh is also working on developing vaccines against SARS-CoV-2. Although several vaccines are already on the market, vaccines that can protect for a longer period of time and against all variants of SARS-CoV-2 are needed.

“We need more vaccines and treatments to fight not just COVID-19 but many other viral diseases as well. Our work to develop treatments and vaccines with more broad-spectrum protection also aims to develop treatments similar to drugs such as remdesivir, which has the potential to protect not just against one viral disease but against several,” says Jens Bukh.

Impressive CV
Jens Bukh’s impressive CV also includes the names of the many researchers he has had under his wings as PhD students or postdoctoral fellows or currently employed as assistant professors, associate professors or professors in the Copenhagen Hepatitis C Program.

Jens Bukh’s research has resulted in 243 scientific publications, primarily in hepatitis C, with more than 25,000 citations.

Jens Bukh also received the Novo Nordisk Prize 2015 for his outstanding research work.

About the Hagedorn Prize

The Hagedorn Prize was established by the Danish Society of Internal Medicine in 1966 and is awarded at the Society’s annual general meeting to recognise excellent research or development efforts within internal medicine in Denmark. The accompanying award of DKK 1.5 million includes a personal award of DKK 250,000 and an award for research or development work of DKK 1.25 million. The Prize also includes the Hagedorn Medal.

About the Danish Society of Internal Medicine

The Danish Society of Internal Medicine, which has almost 4,500 members, is an umbrella organisation for the nine internal medicine specialties in Denmark. The Society aims to promote scientific research in internal medicine and the continuing education of the specialist physicians in internal medicine. The Society was established in 1916 and has a Board of Directors of nine members selected by the boards of each of the nine internal medicine specialties.

Further information

Jens Bukh, Professor, +45 2341 8969, [email protected] [email protected]

Christian Mostrup, Senior Programme Lead, Communications, Novo Nordisk Foundation, +45 3067 4805, [email protected]