Karnataka Science and Technology Academy, a unit of the Department of Science & Technology, Government of Karnataka has conferred the prestigious KSTA Fellowship on Basic & Clinical Medical Sciences for the year 2022 to Dr.Subarna Roy, Director of ICMR-National Institute of Traditional Medicine, Belagavi in an event organized at Bengaluru on 2nd Aug 2022. The Fellowship was conferred by the Principal Scientific Advisor to the Prime Minister Prof. Ajay K. Sood in the presence of Hon’be Minister for Higher Education, Electronics, IT-BT, Science and Technology and Skill development for Govt. of Karnataka, Dr. Ashwath Narayan, C.N.
Dr.Subarna Roy is a specialist in infectious diseases who is honoured for his contribution to molecular epidemiology of infectious diseases in North Karnataka. Dr.Roy set up infectious disease laboratory in 2009 at the ICMR, Belagavi and identified and investigated outbreaks of infectious diseases like cholera, diarrhoea, diphtheria, hepatitis in various districts of North Karnataka, supported the State Health system and strengthened the Medical Colleges in outbreak investigation and response. He helped set up COVID-19 testing laboratories in various districts and his laboratory in Belagavi later led the way in COVID-19 testing in the region and trained Medical College staff from other districts when the pandemic started. He played a major role in estimating the burden of Rotavirus diarrhoea in children in parts of North Karnataka and Southwestern Maharashtra and identified the circulating strains in an ICMR- Networked project, that led to introduction of Rotavirus vaccination in the Universal Immunization Programme. Dr.Subarna Roy was the first to flag resurgence of diphtheria in Karnataka State, highlighting the re-emergence of the disease and increase in deaths. He was involved in advocacy for availability of DAT in affected areas to reduce deaths (through Policy Brief sent to Govt of Karnataka through ICMR, New Dehli). He has also conducted National serosurvey for diphtheria antibodies in various groups of children and flagged waning immunity in older children, calling for better DPT coverage and appropriate booster dosage. Working with the State Government, Dr.Subarna Roy established the Model Rural Health Research Unit at Sirwar, Raichur Dist. which is working on improvement of health status of deprived and marginalized people of the region. Dr.Roy has trained numerous students and professionals including guiding some of them for the award of doctorate degrees.
Dr.Subarna Roy was the first to establish Human Parechovirus as causal agent of childhood diarrhoea, and one of the first to establish the role of Salivirus in causing childhood diarrhoea in India.
He was one of the scientists to flag the occurrence of Rotaviral diarrhoea in older children and young adults, contrary to the then belief that it occurs mostly in children below 5 years of age.
Dr.Roy was responsible for carrying out a serosurvey for dengue infection in Karnataka whereby he as part of the first national level survey that showed wide variability in natural antibody levels but west, south and north regions were found to have high seroprevalence and therefore this would be crucial while determining the need for future dengue vaccines.
Dr.Subarna Roy identified a potential Traditional Medicinal lead for treatment of SARS-CoV-2 using Reverse Pharmacology and Herbal Informatics which has been provisionally patented.
Dr.Roy was appointed as Scientist G & Director of the ICMR-National Institute of Traditional Medicine recently in November 2021 in the Health Research Scientist Cadre of the Dept of Health Research, Govt of India. It is one of the senior-most positions in the Central Government at the level of Joint Secretary.
The KSTA has been functioning since 2005, with the objectives of inculcating scientific temper across civil society through science communication, technology dissemination, fostering innovations and entrepreneurship for societal benefits, recognising talents and organising outreach programmes, capacity building and acting as STI Policy Advisory Body for the State. KSTA provides fellowships and awards in recognition of contributions in various disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture, Medicine and Education.