Drs. Krishna Ella and Suchitra Ella traveled through a rough road to bring Bharat Biotech to the forefront in vaccine production. Dr. Poonawala also made Serum Institute the major Vaccine Production unit in the world. I am happy to see that the Government of India honored them with Padma awards.
As I recall one of his interview, he said the Indian biotech sector is today worth about USD 7 billion and according to the National Biotechnology Development Strategy, the target is to make it into a USD 100 billion industry by 2025, which he surely can support through his various initiatives as his company is doing great, said Prof Guntaka Ramareddy.
This year Dr Krishna Ella, Chairman, Hyderabad based Bharat Biotech along with Suchitra Ella, Director of the company and Dr Cyrus Poonawalla, founder of Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) are all set to be bestowed with Padma Awards. Both pharmaceutical firms – SII and Bharat Biotech – have led the country towards becoming self-sufficient in Covid-19 and other vaccines production and making them available at the lowest possible price in the world.
Dr Ella has joined an elite club of Padma awardee scientists like Varaprasad Reddy, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw who were not only the scientists but biopreneurs who started from scratch and touched skyline though their efforts, dedication and scientific temper.
I also remember how quickly he made Hepatitis-B vaccine immediately after us when I developed India’s first recombinant product and first Hepatitis b vaccine of India for Varaprasad Reddy (Padma Bhushan- 2005) who also did great work to start Shantha biotech in 1993 and with this product in hand becomes the first Indian company to develop, manufacture and market recombinant human healthcare products in India. In 1997, Shantha developed and commercialised India’s first r-DNA Hepatitis-B vaccine.
Adverse Events which are nearly absent in Covaxin as compared to other vaccines is a great advantage of scientific temper. Since he chose the dosage very low, it has very less chance of any adverse reaction unless a live virus enters the vial. On the other hand, it is proved after many reports that Moderna, Pfizer, Astrazeneca or SII’s, etc. vaccine have serious side effects as compared to covaxin. On this note Dr Ella deserves padma awards for his most safe and effective vaccine in times when an innovative and entrepreneurship approaches both were required.
It is also believed by some that committees does sometime makes mistakes while deciding awards, it is imperative to note that Dr Ella was mistakenly placed in Trade category though he was the chief scientist behind the vaccine development and thus would have come under Science or medicine category. There is a huge difference between the selection criteria of each of PADMA AWARDEE and there could be change in category, I believe the decision has come nice when the Indian govt. has recognized efforts of Dr Krishna Ella toward his scientific contribution in novel vaccine development.
About Suchitra Ella
Mrs. Suchitra Ella is the Joint Managing Director of Bharat Biotech, which she co-founded with his husband Dr. Krishna Ella in 1996. With experience in customer operations, finance, marketing and business development, Mrs. Ella is a strong pillar of support and guidance at Bharat Biotech, overseeing a wide range of operations in the company.
Mrs. Ella holds a BA in Economics and Social Sciences from the University of Madras. She followed this up with diploma in business development from UWCU—Madison, diploma in real estate management from University of South Carolina and post-graduate diploma in patent law from NALSAR—Hyderabad. Several awards have been conferred on her including the South Indian Business Achievers Award 2016, Zee TV Best Women Entrepreneur Award, SAARC Women Entrepreneur Award etc.
Mrs. Suchitra Ella is also the Chairperson of CII Indian Women Network. She serves on the Boards of ISB Well Wisher’s Trust and United Way Hyderabad—an International Charity Partner focused on social empowerment in local communities with focus on livelihoods, health and education. She was a former Board member of TTD. Mrs. Suchitra strongly believes in corporate citizenship and social responsibility. She spearheads the CSR initiatives of the company.
About Prof Ramareddy V Guntaka
Professor Guntaka is Emeritus Professor in Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Biochemistry, University of Tennessee, Health Sciences Center, Memphis, TN, USA and Chairman and Chief Scientist at Sudarshan Biotech Pvt Ltd., India.
• Prof Guntaka was one of the four members team that discovered Proto-oncogenes, genes implicated in causing cancer.
• Prof Guntaka was the first one to molecularly clone the entire genome of Rous Sarcoma Virus
• Prof Guntaka was the key scientist behind the successful development of the Recombinant Hepatitis B Vaccine.by Shantha Biotech
• Prof Guntaka was also the key scientist behind the successful development of interferon alpha used to treat hepatitis B infections.
• Prof Guntaka was also the first scientist to clone and study the complete genome of the Indian strains of Hepatitis C virus.