Devika Sirohi (29), a doctoral student at Purdue University in the United States, hailing from Uttar Pradesh, is the youngest member of a team of seven researchers which has, for the first time, determined the structure of the Zika virus.
Out of the seven-member team, three were professors and four were students. Amid growing concerns, global health officials are racing to better understand the Zika virus behind a major outbreak that began in Brazil last year and has spread to many countries in the Americas.
‘The Zika virus breakthrough is is revealing insights crucial for the development of effective treatments for the deadly disease.’
Home Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted his congratulations to Devika Sirohi, saying the entire country was proud of her achievement. “Congratulations to Ms Devika Sihori from Meerut who is part of the US team that has successfully decoded Zika virus,” Singh tweeted.
“The achievement of Ms Devika Sirohi highlights the importance of girl child education. Our focus should be on ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’,” he said.
“During the period of the research, we barely slept for two to three hours a day, but our hard work finally paid off. This discovery will help doctors and researchers to find a cure for the deadly disease that has been reported in 33 countries,” Sirohi said.
India is among five countries where projects are underway to develop vaccines to fight the Zika virus currently circulating in 38 countries. Zika virus is posing severe public health implications and is linked to neonatal malformations and neurological disorders affecting newborns.