Federal investigator and vaccine development expert Rick Bright says he was removed from his post at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) after objecting to the agency’s efforts to push the use of hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 treatment. ” I believe this transfer was in response to my insistence that the government invest the billions of dollars allocated by Congress to address the Covid-19 pandemic in safe and scientifically researched solutions, and not in drugs, vaccines, and other technologies that they lack scientific merit, “he said in a statement to the New York Times. Bright led the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) at HHS, which focuses on drug development for emergencies like global pandemics. They have been critical to the COVID-19 response and have partnerships with pharmaceutical companies working on treatments and vaccines. Bright was transferred to a new position at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) .He said in his statement that he rejected calls for chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, which are generally used to treat malaria, lupus and arthritis, to be widely available to people who are not hospitalized with the new coronavirus. There is no evidence that these drugs (or any other drug) are safe and effective treatments for COVID-19, but President Trump spent the last month promoting their use. “It is a very strong and powerful medicine, but it does not kill people. “. We have some very good results and some very good evidence, “Trump said at an April 5 press conference. Researchers are still studying hydroxychloroquine, and it’s part of an ongoing global trial through the World Health Organization. . But while there was some initial data that showed that it could help COVID-19 patients, other studies showed that it offered no benefit and could cause dangerous side effects. “I rightly resisted efforts to provide an unproven, on-demand drug to the American public, “Bright said in his statement. “I insisted that these drugs be provided only to hospitalized patients with confirmed COVID-19, under the supervision of a physician.” NIH treatment guidelines say there is not enough data to recommend for or against use of these medicines. They say that patients should not take a combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, an antibiotic, outside the context of clinical trials. Bright has worked at BARDA since 2010. He is not a political candidate. “Stand on the sidelines in the middle of this pandemic and put politics and cronyism ahead of science puts lives at risk and hampers national efforts to safely and effectively address this urgent public health crisis, “Bright said.