Suresh Jadhav’s passing a setback to Serum & a loss to the Indian vaccine industry

Suresh Jadhav, 71, succumbed to cancer, an ailment that he had been battling since last July.

Suresh Jadhav led Serum Institute of India as its executive director, armed with his around 48 years of technical expertise.

On December 7th, Tuesday night at 11.15 pm, Indian vaccine industry lost a strong votary and a leader with high technical prowess. Suresh Jadhav, 71, succumbed to cancer, an ailment that he had been battling since last July. Deeply knowledgeable but always preferring the shadows to the spotlight, Suresh Jadhav, played a major role in the huge ramp up of the Covishield vaccine production by Serum Institute during the pandemic months making it a leading vaccine administered in India against Covid-19.

Calling him a stalwart of the Indian vaccine industry, Dr Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, chairperson of Biocon, described him as a technical face of Serum Institute for a long time. “It is really very sad that we have lost him,” she said. “He was always so very humble and understated but very deep in his knowledge with a lot of rich experience in vaccine-making and good technical understanding. He was one of those who you knew what he was saying, had a high credibility and you could believe him,” she added.

Also, she saw him as someone who was all along very proud of Serum Institute and its global scale and its high contribution of Covishield in the billion doses of the vaccine that India administered.

A masters in pharmacy, he led Serum Institute of India as its executive director, armed with his around 48 years of technical expertise. His expertise included areas like validation of various production and quality control processes, pharma / toxicological screening of various drugs, toxins and venoms. All of it along with insights on the pricing of drugs and vaccines.

He was also a member of the scientific body of Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission and had participated in several collaborative studies for making revisions in international reference standards for leading global healthcare organisations, including the World Health Organisation. Not many may know that he had published more than 100 technical papers in national and international journals, held two patents in his name and was closely associated with various advisory committees.

Jadhav also had a deep understanding of the global landscape on vaccines and was keenly tracking the vaccine rollout trends globally across countries as also the various technology platforms that were being worked upon. Even while coping with his ailment and being in and out of hospital in Pune, he would keep a tab on the developments in the vaccine world, including India touching the landmark of administering a billion doses of the Covid-19 vaccines.

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