Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Bright's Whistleblower Complaint

In a whistleblower complaint, Rick Bright, the former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, alleges he was transferred from that post to a smaller role at the National Institutes of Health because he tried to "prioritize science and safety over political expediency," as the Washington Post reports.

Bright led BARDA, which has been central to the US response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic by supporting vaccine research efforts, for about four years until late April. He told the New York Times then that he was forced out of that role because he pushed for stringent testing of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, drugs President Donald Trump has touted with limited evidence as COVID-19 treatments.

In his complaint, Bright further says he had since 2017 been resisting pressure for BARDA to award contracts to certain companies that worked with John Clerici, an industry consultant with ties to his boss, Robert Kadlec, the assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the Department of Health and Human Services. Clerici in a statement to the Post says he "unequivocally" denies Bright's allegations.

"The past few years have been beyond challenging," Bright says, according to USA Today. "I was pressured to let politics and cronyism drive decisions, over opinions of the best scientists in government."

The Scan

Enzyme Involved in Lipid Metabolism Linked to Mutational Signatures

In Nature Genetics, a Wellcome Sanger Institute-led team found that APOBEC1 may contribute to the development of the SBS2 and SBS13 mutational signatures in the small intestine.

Family Genetic Risk Score Linked to Diagnostic Trajectory in Psychiatric Disorders

Researchers in JAMA Psychiatry find ties between high or low family genetic risk scores and diagnostic stability or change in four major psychiatric disorders over time.

Study Questions Existence of Fetal Microbiome

A study appearing in Nature this week suggests that the reported fetal microbiome might be the result of sample contamination.

Fruit Fly Study Explores Gut Microbiome Effects on Circadian Rhythm

With gut microbiome and gene expression experiments, researchers in PNAS see signs that the microbiome contributes to circadian rhythm synchronicity and stability in fruit flies.