SS Jadhav, developer of SII’s Covishield, dies in Pune


Dr Suresh S Jadhav, executive director of Serum Institute of India (SII), instrumental in developing the Covishield vaccine – died at a private hospital in Pune on December 7 after a prolonged illness.

The eminent scientist was 72 and is survived by his wife and two children.

SII CEO Adar Poonawalla and World Health Organisation (WHO) chief scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan paid rich tributes to Dr Jadhav.

“The Indian vaccine industry has lost a guiding light with the passing of Dr Suresh Jadhav,” said Poonawalla.

“Dr Jadhav was instrumental in setting up the Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturing Network (DCVMN). He represented the SII on the GAVI board and was also instrumental in the liaison between the national and international regulatory authorities. He played a pivotal role in getting WHO pre-qualifications of several products,” he added.

“Very sad news. Exceptional lifetime contributions to vaccine development with huge impact on lives saved,” were Dr Swaminathan’s words.

Born in a small village in eastern Maharashtra, Dr Jadhav completed his graduation in pharmacy from Nagpur University and started his career with a research fellowship of the CSIR in 1970.

After several years in academics at Nagpur University’s Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Mumbai, SNDT Women’s University and Haffkine Institute, he joined the SII in 1979, where he became the ED in 1992.

Ranked No. 7 among the World’s 50 Most Influential People in Vaccine as surveyed by Vaccination of Terrapinn, Dr Jadhav held two patents in his name.

He played a pivotal role in securing WHO accreditation for various vaccines produced by the SII, now ranked as the global leader, supplying vaccines to over 140 countries.

Dr Jadhav was an expert on a number of things, including various quality control techniques and drugs pricing. He served WHO more than once as an expert and temporary advisor for its vaccine programs and policies, new vaccines, new methods of vaccine testing, developing new reference standards, etc.

He was the president of DCVMN for four years (2004-2008) and was on its steering committee since its inception in 2000. Dr Jadhav also served on boards of various international vaccine bodies.