She has quietly transformed the Department of Biotechnology over the three decades she has served there, championing collaborations between industry, academia and policymakers and heading the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), the interface agency that has bridged the gap between government and biotech enterprises. By funding and supporting local biotech innovation right from the early stages, BIRAC has created a thriving ecosystem for entrepreneurship in biotechnology that has helped India achieve a higher degree of self-reliance. As Covid-19 swept the world, this ecosystem geared up to tackle the crisis at all levels—immediate disaster mitigation, fixing broken supply chains, drug discovery, test-kit development, scaling up equipment and critical care capacity. Any pharma or test kit company that has skin in the game now has Swarup to thank for expediting clearances and funding and making crucial linkages with academia and larger companies. A PhD in plant genetics, Swarup has a single-cell organism that can survive in extreme environments named after her (Natrialba swarupiae), but her contribution to India’s fight against Covid-19 deserves bigger laurels.