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A farmer’s son from Tamil Nadu is the ‘ man behind’ India’s Covaxin

The success story of Dr Krishna Ella, the man behind India’s Covid-19 vaccine is a motivating one. Dr Krishna Ella, the self-made vaccine maker, was born as a son of a farmer in Tamil Nadu. He is the moving force behind Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.  Krishna Ella was also the man who developed India’s first locally made Rotavirus vaccine.

Dr. Krishna Ella, the US-educated molecular biologist is the man who developed the first indigenous Covid-19 vaccine. The Covxin was developed jointly by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Institute of Virology.

Ella hails from a family of farmers from Tiruttani in Tamil Nadu. He completed his Master’s at the University of Hawaii and his PhD at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Ella, returned from the US in 1996 heeding his mother’s call and set up Bharat Biotech.

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“My initial plan was to keep farming after studying agriculture, but due to economic pressure, I joined Bayer, a chemicals and pharmaceuticals company as part of their agricultural division. This was the time that I got a scholarship from the Rotary’s Freedom from Hunger Fellowship and went to study in the United States”, said Krishna to Rediff.

“I did not have any intention to return to India. It was my mother who asked me to return and pursue whatever I wanted. So I came back to India with a business plan to create a cheaper hepatitis vaccine as there was a heavy demand for it in India”, he added.


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