NIH whistleblower quits, says administration ‘ignores scientific expertise’

Dr. Rick Bright says if we don't figure out the coronavirus now we could have a challenging winter.

Dr. Rick Bright has officially quit his position at the National Institutes of Health.

Not only has the immunologist quit, he says it’s because the Trump administration didn’t listen to the scientific evidence available to stop the spread of the coronavirus, per The Guardian. He also says his plan to develop a testing infrastructure for the country was ignored.

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The doctor used to lead a team at the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, a department of the U.S. Health and Human Services. The agency, responsible for helping fight public health conditions such as bioterrorism attacks and pandemics, is currently working on a coronavirus vaccine.

Bright was transferred this spring and believes it’s retaliation for refusing to sign on to the decision to give New Yorkers hydroxychloroquine, the malaria drug Trump claimed as a COVID-19 remedy. He also claims senior NIH executives ignored his suggestion to provide healthcare workers with N95 respirator masks around the time the pandemic started.

House Hearing Held On Protecting Scientific Integrity In Coronavirus Response
Dr. Richard Bright, former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, testifies during a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health hearing to discuss protecting scientific integrity in response to the coronavirus outbreak on Thursday, May 14, 2020. in Washington, DC. Warning that COVID-19 could make ‘2020 will be the darkest winter in modern history,’ Rick Bright, former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority has filed a federal whistleblower complaint alleging he was fired for opposing the use of a drug promoted by President Donald Trump as a potential coronavirus treatment. (Photo by Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images)

He went public with the complaint he filed in May about his COVID-19 warnings being ignored.  

“I was pressured to let politics and cronyism drive decisions over the opinions of the best scientists we have in government,” Bright said on a call per CNN, after filing the complaint.

When he testified before Congress in May, Bright said the US could undergo the darkest winter of modern history if it did not formulate a strategy to combat the virus.

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Dr. Bright’s attorneys Debra Katz and Lisa Banks said in a statement, “Dr. Bright was forced to leave his position at NIH because he can no longer sit idly by and work for an administration that ignores scientific expertise, overrules public health guidance, and disrespects career scientists, resulting in the sickness and death of hundreds of thousands of Americans.”

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