Her vaccine might wipe out brain fever

Parvathi Benu chats with Nitya Sharma, who won the PM’s fellowship for her research

Published: 13th February 2017 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th February 2017 10:11 PM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

Nitya Sharma, isn’t famous (yet!). In fact, no one would have heard of her until recently when she was awarded the Prime Minister’s Fellowship Scheme for Doctoral Research for her proposed project. In a few years, Nitya might be the developer of a vaccine for brain fever that could revolutionise the entire health sector and change the lives of millions.

When we caught up with this 27-year-old PhD (Immunology) scholar from Amity Institute of Virology and Immunology (AIVI), she was more than excited to talk about her project and its benefits.
What is your background?
I did my Bachelor’s and Master’s in Microbiology from Bharati Vidyapeeth University, Pune. Now, I’m pursuing my PhD in Amity University.

Right from the beginning, I wanted to work on a project that had industrial applicability, not just something academic based. Then one day, I came across the Prime Minister’s fellowship and decided to apply for it.
What was your reaction to the news?
I burst into tears. I was trying for a few other fellowships for the past 2 to 3 years. Things can get pretty difficult for a PhD student. You give up a few years of your life for your project and you expect some source of motivation. You always need resources and monetary assistance. You can’t live off your parents forever.
What ailments will this vaccine prevent and who will benefit from it?
The vaccine is for brain fever which is a very complex disease. It can be caused by many different pathogens. The research would take two to four years. Students, the industry and vastly the public will be benefitted from this. Once we work on the immunodiagnostic assays and develop the vaccine, we can it release as a product at a low cost.
Did you get to meet the PM?
No. The fellowship is only named after him. Maybe in the future I’ll get to meet him.
Reach Out: hillemanlabs.org

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