For the work in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, Adar Poonwalla, chief executive of Serum Institute, largest vaccine manufacturer of India, was named one of the six 'Asians of the year' by a Singaporean leading daily – The Strait Times.
Serum Institute of India is a Pune-based manufacturer company that has collaborated with the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, a British-Swedish pharmaceutical company, for making the Covid-19 vaccine 'Covidshield,' and is currently conducting trials in India.
One of the other five Asians named in the list is Chinese researcher Zhang Yongzhen, who led the team that mapped and published the first complete genome of Sars-CoV-2, the virus that sparked the pandemic.
China's Major-General Chen Wei, Japan's Dr Ryuichi Morishita, and Singapore's Professor Ooi Eng Eong are in the list as well. They are among the people who are at the forefront of developing vaccines against the virus.
South Korean businessman Seo Jung-jin whose company will enable the making and dispensing of the vaccines and other Covid-19 treatments to the world has also made it to the list by The Strait Times.
Collectively referred to as 'The Virus Busters,' they have devoted themselves to the pressing cause of resolving the coronavirus pandemic, each in their capacity, the daily stated.
"Sars-CoV-2, the virus that has brought death and hardship to the world's largest and most populous continent, is meeting its tamer in The Virus Busters," the award citation said.
"We salute your courage, care, commitment and creativity. In this peril-filled hour, you are a symbol of hope for Asia, indeed the world."
The Serum Institute was founded by Adar Poonawalla's father Cyrus Poonawalla in 1966. Adar Poonawalla joined the Serum Institute of India in 2001 and became the CEO.
Mr Poonawalla said that he has put $250 million of his family fortune into ramping up his institute's manufacturing capacity.
"I decided to go all out," said Mr Poonawalla, 39, who has pledged that his firm's Covid-19 vaccines will help supply lower-and middle-income countries that face significant disadvantages in the quest to obtain them.
In the big picture of ending the pandemic, the commonality of purpose is key, said The Straits Times, Singapore's mainstream daily.
"There has not been a day this year when the pandemic has not been in the news. Straits Times' editors felt there could be no more deserving recipients this year than the people squaring up to Asia's biggest-ever health challenge, engaged in pioneering and courageous efforts to prevent the highly contagious virus from wreaking more damage, Bhagyashree Garekar, a Straits Times editor, remarked on Saturday.
"In a year that is ending with a wish for great resets... Asia's virus busters are the face of hope on the horizon," said Ms Garekar.
"Each year, ST editors seek out a person, team or organisation that has not only made or shaped the news but also helped contribute positively to Asia in the process," said Warren Fernandez, editor-in-chief of Singapore Press Holdings' English/Malay/Tamil Media group and editor of Straits Times.
"This year, we naturally looked to those involved in the fight against Covid-19, which has dominated the headlines. We debated long and hard, but finally agreed on a group of people who have done the most to help find an answer to the crisis brought on by the virus."