Covaxin maker has a deep connection with Mysuru
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Covaxin maker has a deep connection with Mysuru

March 5, 2023
  • Dr. Krishna Ella stayed in Yadavagiri in Mysuru city during the 1980s.
  • He was sent on Rotary Fellowship from Mysuru to study Master’s in the
  • US which in a way contributed to the setting up of Bharat Biotech.

Since Jan. 16, 2021, when India started administering the COVID-19 vaccine, there are several millions of people across the world — the majority in India — who have taken the jab in two doses and also as a precautionary dose. Mysureans are also among several such jab takers but not many are aware of the Mysuru connection with the vaccine maker.

Krishna Ella is the Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Bharat Biotech, the company that developed Covaxin in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV). He had resided at Yadavagiri in Mysuru in the 1980s.

It was his tryst with the City of Palaces and the participation of many achievers and dignitaries from various spectra of life, that compelled Krishna Ella to come back to Mysuru and receive the Bhramara’s Prestigious Award for Distinguished Service to Humanity from the trustees of Bhramara Trust of Y.T. and Madhuri Thathachari.

Moreover, Krishna stayed away from felicitations even when he was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2022. However, he could not say no when 15 organisations felicitated him upon the conferment of the Bhramara Award.

He described it as a rare moment in his life, as how fate made him opportune to receive the award in the city. Dr. Krishna Ella relishes his bond with Mysuru, which he remembered, when  Star of Mysore approached him, amid a rush of fans who were gung-ho to take a selfie or photo with him.

By B. Sreekantswamy

Star of Mysore: In your address at the award ceremony, you mentioned that youngsters must fight for innovations. Can you elaborate?

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Dr. Krishna Ella: Yes (the conversation switches over from English to Kannada). The Government alone cannot do all, except for providing basic infrastructural facilities. Be it road, water or housing, we cannot expect everything from the Government. Hence, youngsters should take the risk of innovations.

Star of Mysore: The fear over the COVID-19 pandemic is becoming a passé. What’s next for Bharat Biotech (any more vaccines being developed for other diseases)?

Dr. Krishna Ella: (Smiles with an acknowledgment) The first and second phase of clinical trials of the vaccine in US have been completed (earlier US Food and Drug Administration had put on hold the trials of the shot, after WHO inspected Bharat Biotech, before lifting the hold in May 2022).

Star of Mysore: You have studied agriculture (degree from Tamil Nadu Agricultural University and joined for a Master’s Degree at the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, a Master’s Degree from the University of Hawaii and PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, department of plant pathology). Post pandemic, many youths are turning towards Agriculture?

Dr. Krishna Ella: I do have agricultural land at Mannalli in Jayapura Hobli on the Mysuru-H.D. Kote Road, which the representatives of our company are taking care of. Besides, I have set up a Food Park in Bengaluru, the details shall be provided later.

Star of Mysore: It’s been several years since you left Mysuru. But still, you speak chaste Kannada.

Dr. Krishna Ella: I was a resident of Fourth Cross, Paramahamsa Road in Yadavagiri in the 1980s. To speak about my Kannada-speaking ability, I picked up the smattering of the language while studying in Bengaluru. (The tryst with the language continues. His mother tongue is Telugu but he can speak Tamil also with ease, as he quickly switched over to that language the moment a couple from Tamil Nadu requested for a photo with him).

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Star of Mysore: Your memories of Mysuru?

Dr. Krishna Ella: As I said earlier (during the speech), Agarbathi Guru (referring to R. Guru the chairman of N. Rangarao and Sons that makes Cycle Pure Agarbathi) was the one who was responsible for me going abroad for higher studies.

He (Guru) inducted me to Rotary Club and later sent on a Rotary fellowship to the US for studying Master’s Degree at University of Hawaii. Coming from a family of farmers, I couldn’t have dreamt of going to a foreign country for studies. In a way, Mysuru contributed to the setting up of Bharat Biotech.

Star of Mysore: But still your memories with Mysuru is intact.

Dr. Krishna Ella: I still remember going to a mess for food in Yadavagiri, besides tasting the crispy dosa at the Mylari Hotel. The finest moments in life are those you experience without money in hand. Once the money starts flowing, we will become busy, with no time to spare for other things.

3 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Covaxin maker has a deep connection with Mysuru”

  1. Bengaluru Loknath says:

    Hey SOM , the vaccines that mattered have been the Pfizer, Moderna and Astra Zeneca-the first 2 are still used almost all countries of the world. They were the pioneered vaccines.

  2. John says:

    I don’t understand why suddenly there is a surge of negative comments about Indians who are successful in every field and Indian cultures in general from people with virtual names, undermining everything indian. If you look in western universities and research facilities many great scientists, Engineers and Doctors in every field is filled with indians!
    Wondering if 8000 crores allocated by George Soros to “Repair” our democracy in 2024 elections has started their jobs

  3. Bengaluru Loknath says:

    Hey John
    Is ‘John’ your real name? It does not sound like an Indian name. You too are using a virtual name? What a scoundrel to accuse others using virtual names, when you use one too! Typically Indian characteristic too!
    I have given my full name in the above post.
    You must have really a small brain not to realise that news like this boasts about discoveries as if they are unique , carried out in India.
    The Pfizer vaccine derived from mRNA approach was discovered in Germany, by German-Turkish couple, and the Astra Zeneca vaccine in England. Any vaccine produced in India, simply copy the above know how.
    You have not grasped the substance of those posts you refer to. They point out what happens in India and the Indians who come up through a route which is not merit-based,.
    Take for example ,the Pfizer vaccine derived from the unique mRNA approach was discovered in Germany, by German-Turkish couple, and the Astra Zeneca vaccine in England invented by a bright female scientist.. These 2 countries do not boast as it is done in this news.
    Those posts you mention do not berate scientists of of Indian origin who work in Western countries, and who are citizens there.
    Yes, look at Venki Ramakrishnan who is a Novel Prize winner , of Indian origin, ask him whether being an Indian made him what he is today?
    He will reply in negative. Why did his parents leave India?
    Those scientists like Venki Ramakrishnan and his sister who work in LMB in Cambridge, are not Indians-but of Indian origin, being citizens of Western countries. They were all educated in the West, which made them what they are today. Not being simply Indians.
    Like your PM Modi, you point out to them, boast about them being Indians, but not about why they are there; of course India drove out all those Indians because of the stupid caste-based reservations in India, which you are aware of, and you should hence hang your head in shame.
    There are also Chinse scientists and scientists of other nations too. They do not boast like you or Modi.
    Why did you not mention Indian IT techies, who do the software coding 24/7 which no western programmer wants to do? If you ask your leader Modi he will boats like you about Tech India and Tech Indians. Most Western companies outsource their software coding work to Indian Techies in India and in Western countries too. Why,/ Because they can pay them less.
    As for the Indian doctors you mention-the JSS Medical college churns out doctors who enter paying hefty cash, not on merit, some of them when successful in the entrance tests of their medical knowledge in Western countries work there, not as experts , but mundane general practitioners. There are lots of vacancies for these doctors in the Western countries. The doctors whose name sound Indian, who are top physicians and surgeons in those \Western countries are the second or third generation of American and Europe-born citizens to Indian parents who migrated decades go, because of the pathetic caste-based quota system in India,. Be ashamed of it.
    I hear he Irish from the tiny Ireland boasting about US presidents who have been of Irish-extraction. I remind them that these were the descendants of those Irish families driven out of Ireland during the potato famine there!!
    Finally, btw, Indian students-thousands of them are arriving in dinghies arranged by people smuggling gang to who they paid $5000, from France crossing the English Channel to England, to claim asylum In England. India has over 1000 universities and colleges. Why this desperate attempt by these students? These students hope, by claiming asylum , they can stay , get the government loans for their university education which also provides for their living. Why are you not proud of these Indians too?


Mysuru’s favorite and largest circulated English evening daily has kept the citizens of Mysuru informed and entertained since 1978. Over the past 45 years, Star of Mysore has been the newspaper that Mysureans reach for every evening to know about the happenings in Mysuru city. The newspaper has feature rich articles and dedicated pages targeted at readers across the demographic spectrum of Mysuru city. With a readership of over 2,50,000 Star of Mysore has been the best connection between it’s readers and their leaders; between advertisers and customers; between Mysuru and Mysureans.


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