Dr. Rick Bright has retained an attorney and will be filing a whistleblower complaint after the Trump administration fired him from his position as head of the federal agency charged with developing a COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Bright was moved to a different agency with a narrower focus after he raised concerns over President Donald Trump’s obsession with promoting hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug recent studies found doubles the death rate in coronavirus patients.
“The Administration’s removal of Dr. Bright from his position as director of BARDA is retaliation plain and simple,” Bright’s attorneys, Debra Katz and Lisa Banks, said in a statement, CNN White House Correspondent Jeremy Diamond reports.
“The results from the Administration’s refusal to listen to the experts and to sideline those like Dr. Bright who point out any errors in the government’s response will continue to be catastrophic for the American people,” Bright’s attorneys add. “We will request that the Office of Special Counsel seek a stay of Dr. Bright’s termination and that Dr. Bright be permitted to remain in his position pending the OSC and IG’s investigation of this unlawful forced transfer.”
Dr. Bright says he was removed “in response to my insistence that the government invest the billions of dollars allocated by Congress to address the Covid-19 pandemic into safe and scientifically vetted solutions, and not in drugs, vaccines and other technologies that lack scientific merit.”
“I am speaking out because to combat this deadly virus, science — not politics or cronyism — has to lead the way.”
Dr. Bright has spent his entire career developing vaccines.
Trump has now predicted COVID will ‘go away’ in each of the last seven months
President Donald Trump on Wednesday told "Fox & Friends" that the novel coronavirus "will go away, like things go away."
As Democratic political operative Daniel Wessel notes on Twitter, this is not the first time the president has made bold declarations about the virus disappearing.
Back in February, Trump said the virus "miraculously goes away," then said in March that "it'll go away," and then in April declared that "it's going away."
A third of Afghans estimated to have contracted virus: health ministry
Nearly a third of Afghanistan's population -- or 10 million people -- has been infected with the coronavirus, according to health ministry estimates published Wednesday.
The figure comes from a survey based on antibody tests on around 9,500 people across the country, with technical support from the World Health Organization, health minister Ahmad Jawad Osmani said at a press briefing.
The survey estimated that 31.5 percent of the population had contracted the virus, with the highest infection rate in Kabul where more than half of the city's five million population were thought to have been infected.
Watchdog demands to know if this key drug maker is sitting on possible COVID-19 treatment
"It is sadly predictable that Big Pharma responds to a global pandemic by trying to bring to market only those drugs that maximize its profits."
As Covid-19 cases and deaths continue an upward trajectory in the United States, a watchdog group and allied scientists Tuesday urged the federal government and Gilead, the maker of the promising drug remdesivir, to explain why they have not pursued a similar treatment that might be cheaper for consumers though possibly less profitable to the company.