The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the apex body in India for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research, has lost at least 31 of its staff, including a few senior scientists and retired personnel to Covid-19.
A senior official from the ICMR said some of the employees who died during the coronavirus pandemic were associated with the research body for the past 30 years. He said these scientists and staff were posted in various posts at the ICMR’s regional offices across the country.
However, it was the ICMR-NIV at Pune which was worst hit, probably because the institute was engaged in the testing of corona samples. At least seven employees from the ICMR-NIV lab succumbed to the virus.
“These colleagues had served in various capacities across ICMR and its institutes, and breathed their last during these pandemic times. They will serve as a reminder for the remainder of us to strive forward and work towards a better world,” said the official.
Former director of National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, Dr Kalyan Banerjee, passed away at a private hospital from heart-related problems and was infected with Covid-19 later. He was a fellow of the National Academy of Medical Science, Indian National Science Academy, Indian Academy of Science and National Academy of Science.
Similarly, Dr Namita Mahapatra of Scientist G grade, who was at ICMR-RMRC, Bhubaneswar, succumbed to the virus in September last year.
Another scientist Dr Kiran Shrivastava, at ICMR-NJIL and OMD, Agra, in April this year lost the battle to the deadly virus.
At least seven personnel, including AR Mendes (Sr TO), VV Pethe (senior store officer), AS Lot (MTS) SN Singh (Sr LIO), Richard Disa (Sr Tech Assistant) and SS Shelke (Laboratory Assistant), all from ICMR-NIV, Pune, died due to Covid-19.
Among others who could not overcome the infection caused by the Covid were Raja Ram Pinjan (Technical Assistant) and F Rajoriyo (Office assistant) both at ICMR-NJIL and OMD, Agra while J Phani Kumar (Senior Technician-2) and K Raja Narsing Rao (Laboratory Assistant).
Similarly, Kuldip Kumar (Animal Attendant) Arati Sharma (Lower Division Clerk) from ICMR-NIMR, New Delhi, J D Kushwah (Personal Secretary) and Sant Ram (Office Assistant) both from ICMR-RMRC, Gorakhpur and Sunil Kumar (Sr Technician (2)) and Dr Vijay Kumar (consultant) both posted at ICMR Hq, in Delhi lost the life to the virus. ICMR is one of the oldest medical research bodies in the world.