These three decades were worth it, says Dr Rao

Having been associated with the rotavirus vaccine development programme through thick and thin for nearly three decades, senior adviser at Department of Biotechnology, Dr T S Rao feels proud on its successful culmination


Soft spoken and a firm believer of partnerships, Dr T S Rao expressed his satisfaction on the development of ROTAVAC. He feels that it would now serve as an example for other disease areas.

The rotavirus vaccine was launched on March 09, 2015 by the Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi at Delhi. Developed by Hyderabad based Bharat Biotech, the oral rotavirus vaccine, ROTAVAC has been proved to be safe and effective in preventing rotavirus diarrhoea that anually  kills nearly 80 thousand children under the age of 5 years.

However, it is important to remember that such initiatives don't succeed untill there are people whose persuation skills keep the partnerships going. This initiative too had its heroes. Sharing his experinces is one of them.

"Have been fortunate to be the part of vaccine development all through," says, Dr T S Rao, senior advisor, department of biotechnology who has been associated with the programme for three decades.

"I still remember the day 25 years ago when both  Dr M K Bhan and Dr  Roger Glass walked into my room at DBT and we had a fruitful discussion for hours. This laid the foundation of matrix of long term efforts by hundreds of researchers that was based on pure passion to do something for nation. No doubt global partnerships later on added value and made the vaccine possible," Dr Rao told BioSpectrum feeling nostalgic about the experiences he had while spearheading the programme.

Dr Rao credits all the joint work done by agencies in India and abroad with equal support from prominent scientists and bureaucrats. "This surely serves an example for the next stage and shows how ‘Make in India' is possible with persuasion and continuation to ensure sustainability'" he summed up.


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