PGIMER doctor awarded Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize
Dr Ritesh Agarwal, a professor at the pulmonary medicine department of PGIMER, Chandigarh, has been awarded the prestigious Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology in the medical sciences category for his significant contributions in the field of allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA).
The award, instituted by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in honour of its founder-director late Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar, is given each year for outstanding contributions in science and technology.
Dr Agarwal is the first faculty from PGIMER to be honoured with this award. He has been systematically exploring this perplexing disease over the last 10 years, with over 90 publications describing the epidemiology, diagnosis, management and several first-time descriptions to his credit.
In the last five years, he has validated and proposed new criteria for the diagnosis and classification of ABPA, which are being used to diagnose the disease worldover.
His most significant work is the treatment of ABPA. Before his research, there was no dosing protocol for oral glucocorticoids. His research showed that lower doses of oral steroids were sufficient in the treatment of ABPA. Moreover, two of his studies demonstrating the efficacy of antifungal drugs are practice-changing, as patients can now be spared of the serious adverse effects of glucocorticoids.
Dr Agarwal has more than 500 publications in peer-reviewed national and international journals. He had also received the ICMR Kamal Satbir Award in 2009; the NASI-Scopus Young Scientist Award in 2011; and the ICMR Shakuntala Amir Chand Award in 2012, for his dedicated work in the field of allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis.
Commending Dr Agarwal’s distinct accomplishment, PGIMER director Jagat Ram said, “It is a matter of great pride, not only for the institute, but also for the region. This rare honour won by Dr Agarwal is hugely motivational and exemplary.”