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U.S. replaces director of agency overseeing COVID-19 vaccines, drugs

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said on Tuesday it has replaced Rick Bright as director of a key U.S. agency charged with developing drugs and vaccines for COVID-19.

Bright, who was director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) since 2016, has been moved to a new public-private partnership under the National Institutes of Health announced last week, according to a Health and Human Services representative. BARDA serves under the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.

Under Bright’s leadership, BARDA recently announced nearly $1 billion in support of vaccine manufacturing efforts by Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

Bright, an expert in vaccines and therapeutics, will be replaced by Gary Disbrow, his former deputy, who will serve as acting director of BARDA. The change was first reported by STAT news.

Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen; editing by Jonathan Oatis

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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