The Time’s 100 Most Influential list and similar ratings continue to gain traction globally even as many also think mainly of such ratings as disciplinary narratives. That is, disciplinary in the sense that the text producers aim at conditioning the average reader to a certain meaning of greatness, novelty or originality even as none of such words can have the same meaning for everyone at the same time. A same meaning of such words for every class, culture, gender, region, religion and so on could amount to dictatorship given the diverse ways different people experience the world.
But, like all generalizations, the claim that narratives are necessarily a strategy of power must have its exceptions, particularly where a narrative responds to a problem solving success story on something that affects people across gender, generational, regional, class or cultural barriers.
Cambridge University’s Prof Ravi Gupta would be one such person as HIV or COVID 19 or any pandemic is a truly global problem for everyone. And anyone who has, individually or jointly with others, made a contribution could be an exception when presented by whomever as an exceptional individual.
In this case, Gupta’s university website – Cambridge University – couldn’t help join Time to further spread his being named as one of the 100 the magazine considers as the most influential in the world today, as relative as the word influential. Gupta was profiled as follows:
Professor Ravi Gupta has been named today as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of the Year, in recognition of his work to bring about the second-ever cure of a patient with HIV.
In 2019, the case of ‘The London Patient’ made global headlines, as 40-year-old Adam Castillejo underwent a bone marrow transplant which both cured him of Hodgkins lymphoma, and eradicated the HIV virus from his system.
In his piece about Gupta for Time, Castillejo said, “Through the years, our partnership has developed and strengthened as Gupta has shared his knowledge and his enthusiasm to find a feasible cure for everyone. He has championed me and empowered me to become an ambassador of hope to millions of people living with HIV around the world…I’m so fortunate and humbled to know him, and to see how his dedication can conquer this disease.”
As Professor of Clinical Microbiology and Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow in Clinical Science at Cambridge, Ravi’s primary research focus is on the increasing problem of drug-resistant HIV, and the potential development of alternative treatments. He is also a Professorial Fellow at Homerton College.
Since March this year, however, his attention has been on COVID-19, and increasing our understanding of the virus which has brought the world to a standstill. Early on, his work to develop rapid testing transformed the ability of hospitals to isolate infected patients. He is now in regular demand as a commentator on our evolving knowledge about how COVID-19 works and what the next stage of its impact might be.
“In the future I want to keep doing COVID-19 research alongside the HIV research,” he said in June 2020. “This is partly because there’ll be plenty to do, and partly because I think there’s lots to learn that could translate to other viruses. The next pandemic may be a related virus, so we really do need to keep plugging away.”