Noted microbiologist Dr Bijon Kumar Sil, who led the researchers of Gonoshasthaya Kendra in inventing the Covid-19 rapid testing kit, returned to Singapore on Sunday due to work permit related complications.
Born in Natore of Bangladesh, Dr Bijon became a citizen of Singapore in 2002.
Speaking to The Business Standard, Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury said, "Dr Bijon Kumar Sil is an asset to Bangladesh. He is a good researcher, and he invented a number of medical gears for the testing and treatment of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
"Dr Bijon provides dynamism to research in Bangladesh. The Gonoshasthaya Kendra will provide him with supreme support for getting a visa and work permit for his return to the country."
The organisation's Press Adviser Jahangir Alam Mintu said Dr Bijon left Hazrat Shahjalal Airport around 7.30 am on Sunday.
"But he remains eager to work for his motherland Bangladesh," he said, adding, "The Gono University authorities have already applied for a work permit for Dr Bijon by submitting all necessary documents.
"We hope he will be given a work permit shortly, allowing him to resume his work for his motherland."
Dr Bijon has been working as the head of microbiology department at Gono University for nearly one and a half years through a visa and work permit, which expired in July this year.
Jahangir said the microbiologist could not leave the country immediately after the expiration of his work permit due to the coronavirus-induced travel restrictions.
In 2002, Dr Bijon gave up his Bangladeshi citizenship following rules while joining the Civil Service in Singapore. His wife and two children also reside in Singapore.
He was appointed at the Gono University in Savar on a three-year contract on February 12, 2019.
Under his leadership, the Gonoshasthaya Kendra developed Covid-19 antibody and antigen testing kits.
However, the Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) did not approve the kits following the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Hospital's report, which found the kits not fully effective in detecting Covid-19 patients.
According to a press release issued by the Gonoshasthaya Kendra on Sunday, Dr Bijon invented the PPR vaccine in 1999 to control the goat plague. He also developed the quick test method in 2002 and the SARS virus quick test method in 2003.
As a Singaporean government scientist, Dr Bijon also played a key role in preventing the SARS virus in Southeast Asia.
"I have been working for the love of my motherland and its people, not for money", said Dr Bijon Kumar Sil while talking to the media on Saturday night.