Every evening, as the country went into lockdown to contain the coronavirus, Dr Raman R Gangakhedkar would answer queries at media briefings, representing the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). He was instrumental in formulation of policy and strategic-level decision-making on Covid-19, involving testing criteria, surveillance protocol and guidelines.
The biggest challenge was that we did not know enough about the virus. We struggled on every front. Another challenge was to teach hygiene to such a large population. We could manage because of the lockdown
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Since January 17th, when the first meeting on Covid-19 was held with the Cabinet Secretary, he has worked 14-15 hours a day, seven days a week, says the the head of infectious diseases department at ICMR. Gangakhedkar retired as ICMR’s head of epidemiology and communicable diseases on June 30th and returned to Pune to assist its research body, the National Institute of Virology, and the National AIDS Research Institute.