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New Name Floated for CDC Head

An AIDS researcher is the top candidate to take over the leadership role at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Washington Post reports.

Robert Redfield, a professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and former Army doctor, has risen to the top of the list of candidates, it says, noting that he has been considered for both CDC and National Institute of Health posts during other Republican administrations. The New York Times adds that Redfield helped establish, with Robert Gallo, the Institute of Human Virology and has experience treating heroin addicts.

"I think he's a superb candidate, first rate," Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, a former Democratic lieutenant governor of Maryland, tells the Post.

The Post notes that Redfield controversially suggested in the 1980s that there be mandatory testing for AIDS when there was stigma surrounding the disease and no effective treatment. Jeffrey Levi, who was deputy director of the Office of National AIDS Policy under President Bill Clinton, tells the Post that "some of the policies he advocated and some of the organizations he was associated with were not embracing sound public health approaches to the AIDS epidemic."

The CDC spot has been open since the end of January when Brenda Fitzgerald resigned following revelations she held stock in tobacco and healthcare companies.