The Distinguished Achievement Award is given to an individual in honor of sustained scientific contributions to the field of liver disease and the scientific foundations of hepatology. The award honors a sustained contribution rather than a single discovery or major achievement.
This year’s recipient is Raymond F. Schinazi, PhD, FAASLD, and the Francis Winship Walters Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Laboratory of Biochemical Pharmacology at Emory University. His vital involvement in the discovery of important antiviral medication currently used for HIV, HBV and HCV has had an unprecedented impact on millions of liver patients around the globe. These antiviral treatments have clearly proven to reduce the regression of cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer, in particular, the discovery of Lamivudine and Telbivudine for hepatitis B and Sofosbuvir, the first effective cure for HCV infections. As a result, HCV is no longer a chronic debilitating disease with high mortality rate, but one where most patients become free of HCV after a short course of treatment. Additionally, more than 94% of HIV-infected individuals on combination therapy in the U.S. take at least one of the drugs invented by Dr. Schinazi. The development of the use of the JAK inhibitor baricitinib for treatment of COVID-19 patients is further testament to his pioneering work in field of medicine.