World’s Super Scientists – Dr. Yellapragada Subba Row

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“An Inspiring Dedication Results in an Infusible Achievement” Yellapragada as Famous as ‘Yerrapragada’

Dr. Yellapragada Subba Row

Dr. Subba Row (1896-1948) was born in Bhimavaram in Andhra Pradesh. He conducted clinical trials in the Madras Ayurvedic College.

Later, he went to Harvard and took the summer course at the Harvard Medical School (HMS). He always wanted to study Biochemistry.

Pernicious anaemia killed thousands of Americans every year. In India, Dr. Row’s brother also died of anaemia while he watched helplessly.

Subba Row thought that the isolation of the so-called Anti-Pernicious Anaemia Factor (APAF-Vitamin B 12) would be a sweet revenge against this dreaded illness.

Dr. Yellapragada Subba Row Contributions

1. Rapid colorimetric method, ‘Fiske-Subba Row’ method. This is used to measure the amount of phosphorous in body fluids and tissues. The work was carried out in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard School of Tropical Medicine, Boston, in 1925.

2. Phosphocreatine and Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). He discovered that the above substances are the source of energy in muscular activity. This work was carried out in MIT in 1925.

3. Director of ‘Lederle Research Laboratory’, American Cyanamid Company, New York, USA (1945 to 48) (a) He developed a deep tank production technique of Penicillin, to produce it in bulk. This was independent of the technique developed by Dr. Alexander Fleming, (b) Folic acid in treatment of tropical sprue, (c) Hetrazan in treatment for filariasis, (d) Aureomycin — first broad-spectrum antibiotic to treat infections, (e) Methotrexate, an antimetabolite — the first drug for cancer chemotherapy (treatment).

Dr. Yellapragada Subba Row Exploits

Research in liver extract in the treatment of anaemia. Scientist Dr. Yellapragada Subba Row published papers on pantothenic acid, biotin, miscellaneous B complex vitamins, steroids, TB, trypanosomiasis, cancer, blood pressure, etc.

Scientist Dr. Yellapragada Subba Row died of atherosclerosis and coronary ischaemia. The stress due to the tempo of work and the vicissitudes of research activity in relation to successes and failures, might have contributed to the development of the above diseases.
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Yellapragada Subba Row Memorial Oration is being delivered annually, arranged by the IMA, Andhra Pradesh Branch.

“Humanity owes a deep debt and gratitude to this great scientist.”