One of the leading vaccine development experts in the country, and the director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, is no longer leading the agency, according to a report from STAT News. Rick Bright’s departure was reportedly confirmed by five sources in the industry and in the Trump administration. No reason was given for his departure, though the report says some sources mentioned recent chafing between Bright and Bob Kadlec, the HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, which has oversight the agency, also known as BARDA. The agency invests in devices and drugs to help address outbreaks of infectious diseases, and it has been at the heart of the federal government’s response to the historic and deadly novel coronavirus pandemic. At least 804,194 people in the U.S. had been infected with COVID-19 as of Tuesday afternoon. Congress recently more than tripled the agency’s budget under Bright’s leadership. Gary Disbrow, his former deputy, will serve as the acting director of the office, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, told STAT News.
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