Rick Bright (HHS)

BAR­DA chief leaves po­si­tion as agency en­ters un­prece­dent­ed vac­cine cam­paign, rais­ing ques­tions about fed­er­al Covid-19 re­sponse

Rick Bright, the head of the Bio­med­ical Ad­vanced Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­i­ty and a lead­ing re­searcher on vac­cines and an­tivi­rals, is no longer run­ning the agency.

Bright’s sud­den de­par­ture, first re­port­ed by STAT, comes just as the agency, com­mon­ly called BAR­DA, has been thrust in­to the na­tion­al spot­light as it leads a na­tion­wide ef­fort to de­vel­op vac­cines and treat­ments for SARS-COV-2, the virus that caus­es Covid-19. Last week, the agency an­nounced an up-to $483 mil­lion agree­ment with Mod­er­na to help ush­er its vac­cine to ap­proval and scale up man­u­fac­tur­ing. That came af­ter an agree­ment with J&J to put $1 bil­lion — split be­tween the gov­ern­ment and the phar­ma com­pa­ny — be­hind their vac­cine ef­fort.

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