Dr. Krishna Ella and Suchitra Ella, the couple behind Bharat Biotech, which developed India's first indigenous vaccine for Covid-19, have been awarded Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian award in the country.
The award for co-founders of the Hyderabad-based company was announced on the eve of 73rd Republic Day.
Dr. Krishna Ella is the Chairman and Managing Director of the biotechnology company while his wife is Joint Managing Director. They will receive the award for distinguished service of high order in the field of trade and industry.
The Hyderabad-based firm rolled out the vaccine early last year and it has since been part of India's Covid vaccination programme.
The vaccine maker developed Covaxin in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research's National Institute of Virology (NIV).
Krishna and Suchitra Ella founded Bharat Biotech in 1996. A gold medalist at university, Krishna Ella worked as a research faculty at the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston after earning his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
A research scientist in Molecular Biology, he believes that innovative technology in vaccine development is essential to solve public healthcare problems caused by infectious diseases. Under his leadership, Bharat Biotech has grown to become a global leader in innovative vaccines.
A serial entrepreneur with a passion for innovative ideas, he has also ventured into veterinary vaccines, food processing, and developing biotechnology infrastructure in the country.
A BA in economics and social sciences from the University of Madras, Suchitra Ella holds diplomas in business development from UWCU, Madison, the US. She also holds a diploma in real estate management from the University of South Carolina, and a post-graduate diploma in patent law from NALSAR, Hyderabad.
Meanwhile, five others from the Telugu states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh figure in the list of Padma Shri awardees.
They include Narasimha Rao Garikapati (literature and education), Gosaveedu Shaik Hassan (posthumous) (art), Dr. Sunkara Venkata Adinarayana Rao (medicine) from Andhra Pradesh, Darshanam Mogilaiah, Ramachandraiah and Padmaja Reddy (Art) from Telangana.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has congratulated the Telugu people who were nominated for the Padma Awards for their efforts in their respective fields.
Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has also congratulated Padma awardees from the state.