A quick and sudden loss to Indian Biotech: Prof Dr M K Bhan passed away at age of 73

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Prof Dr M K Bhan passed away on 26th January 2020 at the age of 73 only, which shocked the people of biotech and medical sciences field as it was a great loss to the nation. For his extraordinary work(s) he was awarded Padma Bhushan from Govt. of India and many several other notable national and international awards.

Another great administrator of his time, Prof Sudhir Kumar Sopory said, “A great scientific mind, able administrator, institution builder and a wonderful human being. Being classmate since college days, I have known him for over 50 years and is a great personal loss. Scientific fraternity will definitely miss his advises and friendly interactions”.

Among his most notable work, Dr M K Bhan developed rotavirus vaccine based on neonatal strain. Rotavirus is the major cause of diarrheal death in Indian children.

Dr M K Bhan developed low osmolarity oral rehydration solution, which has been introduced in the Diarrheal Disease Control Programme by WHO and by the Government of India. He identified zinc deficiency in children as a major public health problem and developed zinc as a new treatment for childhood diarrhea, which was introduced by WHO as a global recommendation.

Dr M K Bhan identified, for the first time, a new pathogen enteroaggregative E coli to be a cause of persistent diarrhea and developed treatment for this disorder.

He demonstrated safety and efficacy of exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months for the first time in a developing country, which led to its global recommendation.

Dr Bhan has published about 200 papers in national and international journals, written chapters for seven books and prepared four guidelines for national programmes related to public health.

Alongwith as a great scientist he was a great administrator too, Dr M K Bhan played a leadership role in promoting primary health care for children in rural India including promotion of oral rehydration therapy, micronutrient supplementation, introduction of new vaccines and greater coverage with existing ones.

He has played a major role in policy formulation of different organizations such as WHO, ICMR, CSIR, UNICEF, EU, etc. He has been Chairman, WHO Task Force on Child Health Research; Member, Board of Directors, International Vaccine Institute, Korea; Chairman, National Task Force on Micronutrient Policy; Member, Technical Advisory Group, WHO; Chairman, Maternal and Child Health Research, ICMR; Chairman, Scientific Advisory Committee, National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad; Member, Scientific Advisory Committee, ICMR; Advisor to the Drug Regulatory Authority of India; Chairman, Committee for Preparation of Strategy for Promotion of neonatal health in South East Asia, SEARO; and many more.

 

Read more in next February 2020 issue of Biotech Express magazine.

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