Dr Yellapgrada Subba Rao

Dr Yellapgrada Subba Rao

8th Aug 2022

Today is the 74th death anniversary of Dr Yellapgrada Subba Rao, one of the brightest scientists/discoverers of the World of medicine witnessed hailing from India.

A famous writer Doron Antrim observed in 1950-“You’ve probably never heard of Dr Yellapragada Subbarao. Yet because he lived you may be alive and are well today. Because he lived you may live longer.”

Why did he say so?

1)His discovery of Tetracycline saved millions of lives during the Surat 1994 Plague outbreak.

Doxycycline today is one of the front-line antibiotics for many chest infections

2) He discovered another antibiotic, Polymyxin very widely used

3)He discovered Hetrazan a drug used in Filariasis(Elephant leg) very common in India.

4) Developed Vitamin B12.

From 1988 onwards, US FDA instructed every cereal to be fortified with Vitamin B12

5) The energy pockets of our body, ATP(Adenosine Triphosphate) and ADP( Adenosine Diphosphate).

Phosphorus is an essential part of these energy pockets.

Fiske and Subba Rao both worked together on how to estimate the phosphorus content, used even today.

6) He developed Methotrexate a cancer drug used in Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Methotrexate was first used in Children with Blood cancer.

A man with so many discoveries, he deserved a Nobel Prize but being a nationalist Indian, he was first denied an MBBS degree by the Britishers when he studied at Madras Medical College. He was awarded an LMS degree instead.

He worked in an Ayurveda college, through his father-in-law, went to the USA, and got registered as a Physician at Harvard Medical School but registered as a Chemist as that was the category Indians could get into the USA then.

Later, he was denied a faculty position at Harvard but none of these deterred his brilliant accomplishments.

India has not given due credit to its own citizen who contributed so much to the world of medicine.

Teach your children about this great scientist who comes only once in a generation.


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