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Lost 10 Years Of Life In Past 18 Months Due To Stress And Excitement Of Developing Covaxin: Dr Krishna Ella

Swarajya Staff

Nov 14, 2021, 08:57 AM | Updated 04:55 PM IST

Bharat Biotech chairman and managing director Dr Krishna Ella
Bharat Biotech chairman and managing director Dr Krishna Ella

Bharat Biotech chairman and managing director Dr Krishna Ella said that he believes he lost 10 years of his life in the last 18 months due to the stress and simultaneous excitement of developing Covaxin.

“The past 18 months were tough. I have not battled so much for anything in the last 25 years (since he set up Bharat Biotech). I feel as if I have lost 10 peaceful years in this battle,” Dr Ella expressed in an interview to the Times of India (TOI).

Notably, Dr Ella incorporated Bharat Biotech in 1996 after working as a research faculty at the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston.

Dr Ella said that Covaxin wasn’t the first vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech but it was the first time that the company was under constant spotlight.

He further said that any death due to infection in the company would have been disastrous especially at a time when there was no vaccine available.

With respect to dealing with intense scrutiny, Dr Ella said that he switches off by not picking up any calls once he reaches home. He instead spends some time by reading on the latest advancements in the world of science.

“For Covaxin, we were working with a 1,000-litre fermenter with such a high density of live virus that this was enough to infect entire India. It was dangerous,” Dr Ella quipped to TOI.

Speaking at the Times Now Summit 2021 earlier about the journey towards approval, he criticised the negative role played by the media during the process. He gave an example of the case where media persons wrote to journals, falsely blaming a death by suicide on the vaccine. He said that such events caused a delay as they, then, decided to investigate. "But we are transparent, and truthful, and we won the game," he said.

He said that there were political motivations behind the criticism of the vaccine: "When the Prime Minister took the vaccine, they said it is a Modi vaccine, it is a BJP vaccine. We are scientists. We don't understand the politics. We only know how to do science and succeed in the field. That is all we know. But how people projected us, it not only hurt us, but also the future of the startups in the country."

"We are neutral. We want India to succeed. We want the people to benefit. That is all we aim for. So that kind of negative thinking really hurt us," he added.

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