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Renowned Scientist and ‘Saheli’ Inventor Dr. Nityanand Passes Away at 99

Lucknow: Dr. Nityanand, the visionary scientist who discovered India’s groundbreaking non-steroidal, non-hormonal oral contraceptive ‘Saheli,’ breathed his last at SGPGIMS Lucknow after a prolonged illness. The former director of Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI) and Padma Shri awardee was 99 years old.

Dr. Nityanand, a distinguished medical chemist, played a pivotal role at CDRI from its inception in 1951, serving as its director from 1974 to 1984. His contributions extended beyond administrative roles, with over 400 research papers, 130 patents, and supervision of 100 Ph.D. students.

Survived by his children Neeraj Nityanand, Dr. Naveen Nityanand, and Dr. Sonia Nityanand, who serves as the vice-chancellor of King George’s Medical University (KGMU), Dr. Nityanand’s legacy includes the revolutionary oral contraceptive ‘Saheli.’ This non-steroidal, non-hormonal contraceptive, launched by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1986, remains the world’s only one of its kind, ensuring its place in India’s National Family Planning Programme since 2016.

Reflecting on her father’s accomplishments, Dr. Sonia Nityanand stated, “His stay in CDRI has been of great significance in shaping and nurturing budding scientists of the institute.”

Dr. Nityanand’s influence extended to drug policy-formulating bodies of the Indian government for nearly four decades, where he served as an advisor and consultant to various scientific bodies and institutions. The last rites for this distinguished scientist will take place on Monday.

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