Rick Bright is no longer the head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, the agency at the center of the US response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, Stat News reports.
BARDA has been supporting efforts by Johnson & Johnson and Moderna to develop vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, and, as Stat News notes, the agency saw its budget more than triple as part of the recent coronavirus stimulus package. CNN adds that Bright had led BARDA since 2016 and, before that, he directed its Influenza and Emerging Infectious Diseases Division.
But the reason for Bright's departure is unclear, Stat News adds, noting there have been reports of "chafing" between him and Bob Kadlec, the Department of Health and Human Services assistant secretary for preparedness and response.
An HHS spokesperson tells Stat News that Bright is moving to the National Institutes of Health to work on diagnostics. "Bright will transfer the skills he has applied as Director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to the National Institutes of Health, as part of a bold plan to accelerate the development and deployment of novel point-of-care testing platforms," says HHS spokesperson Caitlin Oakley, according to Bloomberg News.