Rick Bright has resigned from his post at the US National Institutes of Health, NPR reports.
Bright, an immunologist, was previously in charge of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, which has been at the forefront of the US response to the COVID-19 pandemic. But in April, he said he was forced out of that role due to his insistence that hydroxychloroquine, a drug President Donald Trump had suggested with limited evidence as a COVID-19 treatment, undergo strict testing. In a whistleblower complaint, Bright alleged he was transferred to a smaller role at NIH because he tried to "prioritize science and safety over political expediency," noting that he had been facing pressure since 2017 for BARDA to award contracts to companies that worked with an industry consultant with ties to his boss. He further updated his complaint in June to allege that he has been "deliberately impeded" in his new NIH position.
According to NPR, Bright's attorneys say he has now resigned from that post, as he was "sidelined from doing any further work to combat this deadly virus." Bright further charged, the Guardian adds, that the Trump Administration "ignores scientific expertise, overrules public health guidance, and disrespects career scientists".
It notes that President Trump has previously dismissed Bright as a disgruntled employee.