National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins has announced his plans to step down amid scrutiny about his part in the encouragement of gain-of-function research on the Coronavirus.
According to Politico, Collins, 71, is stepping down after nearly three decades on the job, 12 of which he spent leading the agency. His time at the head of the NIH was the longest-serving of any director, doing so under three different presidents.
Collins, an Obama appointee, claims his departure has nothing to do with the increasing scrutiny, but everything to do with a principle of leaving after having served too long according to a statement he released:
I love this agency and its people so deeply that the decision to step down was a difficult one, done in close counsel with my wife, Diane Baker, and my family. I am proud of all we’ve accomplished. I fundamentally believe, however, that no single person should serve in the position too long, and that it’s time to bring in a new scientist to lead the NIH into the future. I’m most grateful and proud of the NIH staff and the scientific community, whose extraordinary commitment to lifesaving research delivers hope to the American people and the world every day.
While Fauci was the most visible NIH member, Collins was being put forward more and more by the Biden administration as a voice of authority in order to urge people to wear masks and get vaccinated. This includes masking children, saying that they’re “pretty resilient” and that if we didn’t force masks on children then “this virus will spread more widely.”
The NIH head was often seen defending and promoting Biden’s agendas on news shows as a result as pointed out by Politico:
“This is the way it ought to be,” Collins said about the Food and Drug Administration’s decision late last month to limit boosters to certain vulnerable populations for now, despite the Biden administration’s pledge that boosters would launch broadly by Sept. 20. “Science sort of playing out in a very transparent way, looking at the data coming from multiple places, our country, other countries, and trying to make the best decision for right now,” he said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
As RedState previously covered, Collins had promoted gain-of-function research on the Coronavirus alongside Fauci. He, like Fauci, argued that the dangers were worth the risks in order to get the benefits. After an article from The Intercept made NIH grants to the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China a mainstream issue, Collins had found himself more in the spotlight than ever.
This would put Collins very much near the center of the pandemic itself. Collins had previously denied that a lab leak was likely despite no evidence that this occurred naturally.
.@MarthaMacCallum is torching NIH Director Francis Collins over #FauciEmails. She asked about one w/the subject line "conspiracy gains momentum" re: the lab theory, but he lamented this is something he "never thought…would become a topic for Fox News" & they never dismissed it pic.twitter.com/bktbiNA1v0
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) June 2, 2021
Sen. Tom Collins pointed out that if the gain-of-function research into the coronavirus was true, then Collins and Fauci did so against the orders of then-President Barack Obama, and said that the NIH was a bureaucracy out of control.
It’s amidst these things and more that Collins has decided now was the time to step down.