We are about six months into the pandemic which has by now caused enormous damage in health and economics. This is a good time to look back into how the pandemic has progressed, its impact on the economy and society, and how it was managed. This is also a time to look into the future and understand how it is likely to unfold and to learn lessons from the past few months.
Dr Ramanan Laxminarayan, a world authority on viruses and epidemics, will help us understand.
Dr Ramanan Laxminarayan, Epidemiologist, Economist
Dr. Ramanan Laxminarayan Ph.D., M.P.H is an economist and an epidemiologist. He is founder and director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP) in Washington, D.C. and senior research scholar at Princeton University, an affiliate professor at the University of Washington. His research on epidemiological models of infectious diseases and economic analysis of drug resistance on public health gets attention from leaders and policymakers worldwide. He served on the President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology’s antimicrobial resistance working group. He is also a voting member of the U.S. Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antimicrobial Resistance. He is a chairperson of the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP), a not-for-profit organization created by the World Health Organization along with Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi).
Laxminarayan was a key architect of the Affordable Medicines Facility-malaria (AMFm), an innovative financing mechanism to provide affordable, effective antimalarial drugs worldwide. The idea emerged from an Institute of Medicine panel chaired by the late economist Kenneth Arrow that called for global subsidies to ensure that artemisinin-based antimalarials were introduced to crowd out monotherapies that would result in resistance. Laxminarayan served on that panel and subsequently worked extensively on the design of the subsidy mechanism. AMFm was launched in 2008 with a commitment from British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
He is a leading global expert on understanding of antibiotic resistance as a problem of managing a shared global resource. Through his prolific research, active public outreach and sustained policy engagement, Laxminarayan played a central role in bringing the issue of drug resistance to the attention of leaders and policymakers worldwide and to the United Nations General Assembly in September 2016. His TED talk on antibiotic resistance which helped bring attention to this issue has been viewed more than a million times.
During the Obama Administration, Laxminarayan served on the U.S. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology’s antimicrobial resistance working group. He was subsequently appointed a voting member of the U.S. Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antimicrobial Resistance in 2016.
In 2012, Laxminarayan created the Immunization Technical Support Unit that supports the immunization program of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of the Government of India and which is credited with helping rapidly improve vaccination coverage and introduction of four new vaccines. He is a series editor of the Disease Control Priorities for Developing Countries, 3rd edition.
He is a co-founder of HealthCubed, which works to improve access to healthcare and diagnostics.
Distinguished Alumnus, Academia and Research, Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, 2019
Distinguished Alumnus, University of Washington, Seattle, 2020
Ella Pringle Keynote Lecture Medal, Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh 2018
Winter Lecture, 2015, University of Edinburgh
BP Koirala Memorial Oration, BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences, Dharan, 2019