Far from a dry collection of facts and figures – The New Indian Express

Express press service

From Mahatma Gandhi’s views on vaccination to using children as a source of live vaccines, Dr Sajjan Singh Yadav’s new book maps several remarkable moments in India’s journey to become a modern-day global vaccine superpower.

Although the subject of the book is academic in nature, it is far from being a mere collection of facts and figures. The research is thorough and the narrative is well-structured and romantic. Anecdotes complement historical events, and the angst and panic that have ravaged the country during epidemics such as smallpox, plague, cholera, poliomyelitis and Covid-19 come through eloquently. So does the sense of triumph in achieving breakthroughs in finding cures for these diseases, making the book worth reading also for people beyond academics and policy makers in the field.

Dr Yadav takes readers back to the early days of the coronavirus pandemic – to a tense WHO office in China on New Year’s Eve in 2019 after the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission detected a cluster of pneumonia cases from unknown nature – painting, in retrospect, a terrifying picture of a world immersed in celebration, unaware of what lay ahead.

The story of researchers’ struggle to trace the route of the coronavirus through the human community is told with gripping fervor. From the elusive search for patient zero to the futile efforts and hurdles scientists face in tracing the true mode of transmission of the virus, Dr Yadav captures the various peaks and troughs of India’s war against Covid-19 from a captivating way. It explores and enlists the various theories and conspiracies around the possible ways in which the virus invaded the human population, including the hypothesis that the virus could have escaped from a laboratory or that it was part of a larger scheme. sinister.

Stories of a pre-vaccination India dating back to the 7th century, when people practiced various ways of acquiring immunity, make for interesting reading. For example, the oral consumption of snake venom was considered an effective method of dealing with snakebites, a method of immunity to toxins that the Western world discovered many centuries later.

India’s vaccine outreach program – Vaccine Maitri – which established India’s credibility as a reliable vaccine producer is also discussed at length. Dr Yadav explains how Vaccine Maitri enabled the Western world to begin to see India as a countervailing force to China’s growing influence in the region and the emergence of a new geopolitics. Social obstacles encountered during inoculation campaigns in India, including administrative complacency and reluctance to vaccination among the people, are discussed.

With people’s renewed awareness of vaccines in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, the book is certainly timely reading, and the author’s experience as a bureaucrat in the Ministry of Health and Family welfare only helps.

From Mahatma Gandhi’s views on vaccination to using children as a source of live vaccines, Dr Sajjan Singh Yadav’s new book maps several remarkable moments in India’s journey to become a modern-day global vaccine superpower. Although the subject of the book is academic in nature, it is far from being a mere collection of facts and figures. The research is thorough and the narrative is well-structured and romantic. Anecdotes complement historical events, and the angst and panic that have ravaged the country during epidemics such as smallpox, plague, cholera, poliomyelitis and Covid-19 come through eloquently. So does the sense of triumph in achieving breakthroughs in finding cures for these diseases, making the book worth reading also for people beyond academics and policy makers in the field. Dr Yadav takes readers back to the early days of the coronavirus pandemic – to a tense WHO office in China on New Year’s Eve in 2019 after the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission detected a cluster of pneumonia cases from unknown nature – painting, in retrospect, a terrifying picture of a world immersed in celebration, unaware of what lay ahead. The story of researchers’ struggle to trace the route of the coronavirus through the human community is told with gripping fervor. From the elusive search for patient zero to the futile efforts and hurdles scientists face in tracing the true mode of transmission of the virus, Dr Yadav captures the various peaks and troughs of India’s war against Covid-19 from a captivating way. It explores and enlists the various theories and conspiracies around the possible ways in which the virus invaded the human population, including the hypothesis that the virus could have escaped from a laboratory or that it was part of a larger scheme. sinister. Stories of a pre-vaccination India dating back to the 7th century, when people practiced various ways of acquiring immunity, make for interesting reading. For example, the oral consumption of snake venom was considered an effective method of dealing with snakebites, a method of immunity to toxins that the Western world discovered many centuries later. India’s vaccine outreach program – Vaccine Maitri – which established India’s credibility as a reliable vaccine producer is also discussed at length. Dr Yadav explains how Vaccine Maitri enabled the Western world to begin to see India as a countervailing force to China’s growing influence in the region and the emergence of a new geopolitics. Social obstacles encountered during inoculation campaigns in India, including administrative complacency and reluctance to vaccination among the people, are discussed. With people’s renewed awareness of vaccines in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, the book is certainly timely reading, and the author’s experience as a bureaucrat in the Ministry of Health and Family welfare only helps.

Angela C. Hale