Eminent scientist and Executive Director of Serum Institute of India (SII) Dr Suresh S. Jadhav - who was instrumental in developing the lifesaver Covishield vaccine - passed away after a prolonged illness at a private hospital late on Tuesday night.
He was 72 and is survived by his wife and two children.
Jadhav's demise was mourned by SII CEO Adar Poonawalla and World Health Organisation (WHO) Chief Scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan, besides other prominent personalities.
Poonawalla said that "the Indian vaccine industry has lost a guiding light with the passing of Dr Suresh Jadhav".
"Dr Jadhav was instrumental in setting up the Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturing Network (DCVMN). He represented the SII on the GAVI board and was also instrumental in the liaison between the national and international regulatory authorities. He played a pivotal role in getting WHO pre-qualifications of several products," he said.
Dr Swaminathan said: "Very sad news. Exceptional lifetime contributions to vaccine development with huge impact on lives saved."
Who was Dr S.S. Jadhav?
Born in a small village in eastern Maharashtra, Dr Jadhav completed his graduation in Pharmacy from Nagpur University and started his career with a research fellowship of the CSIR in 1970.
After spending several years in academics at Nagpur University's Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Mumbai, SNDT Women's University and Haffkine Institute, he joined the SII in 1979, where he became the ED in 1992.
Ranked at No 7 among the World's 50 Most Influential People in Vaccine as surveyed by Vaccination of Terrapinn, Dr Jadhav held 2 patents in his name.
He played a pivotal role in securing WHO accreditation for various vaccines produced by the SII, which is now ranked as the global leader supplying vaccines to over 140 countries.
Dr Jadhav's technical expertise spanned various quality control techniques and drugs pricing and served several times as Expert, and Temporary Advisor to WHO for its vaccine programmes and policies, new vaccines, new methods of vaccine testing, developing new reference standards, etc.
With his huge experience, he spearheaded the DCVMN as President (2004-2008) and was on its Steering Committee since inception in 2000, besides serving on boards of various international vaccine bodies.
He toured globally delivering lectures, attending scientific seminars or conferences, published over 60 scientific research papers, served on several Indian and international government or private academic institutes, universities, etc, and was decorated with several honours/awards all over the world.
(With inputs from IANS)