The Nobel Prize in the field of physiology or medicine has been awarded to U.S. scientists David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian.
They were cited for their discovery of receptors for temperature and touch.
The winners were announced Monday by Thomas Perlmann, secretary-general of the Nobel Committee.
Last year’s prize went to three scientists who discovered the liver-ravaging hepatitis C virus, a breakthrough that led to cures for the deadly disease and tests to keep the scourge from spreading though blood banks.
The Nobel Assembly often commends basic science, but practical applications are also sometimes recognized. This could boost the chances of those involved in developing vaccines against the coronavirus getting the prize.
The prestigious award comes with a gold medal and 10 million Swedish kronor (over $1.14 million). The prize money comes from a bequest left by the prize’s creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who died in 1895.
The other prizes are for outstanding work in the fields of physics, chemistry, literature, peace and economics.