Dr Gangakhedkar, Face of ICMR During Coronavirus Pandemic, Retires

Dr Raman R Gangakhedkar, who had become the face of ICMR during government briefings to media on the coronavirus pandemic, retired as the head of epidemiology and communicable diseases at the apex health research body on Tuesday. He will now join the prestigious Dr CG Pandit National Chair at the Indian Council of Medical Research and will assist the research body from Pune, an ICMR official said. Dr Gangakhedkar represented ICMR in national press briefings and updated journalists on research developments related to COVID-19 in India by breaking down complex scientific data to make them easier for the general public to understand. "He is an excellent philosopher, thinker, researcher, scientist and a great human being," Dr Balram Bhargava, the director-general of ICMR, said. He also played an important role in the research on HIV/AIDS and made a significant contribution in developing national policies and patient empowerment. Dr Gangakhedkar was the director-incharge of the National AIDS Research Institute (NARI), Pune, before he moved to the ICMR headquarters in Delhi. During his approximately four-year stint with ICMR, he was instrumental in formulation of policies to handle the Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala in 2018 and recently for the COVID-19 pandemic. He was awarded Padma Shri in 2020 for his service and his research on HIV/AIDS.