Richard Bright, former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, testifying before Congress in May. Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

The senior vaccine scientist who said in a whistleblower complaint last May that he was demoted for political reasons resigned from his position at the Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Rick Bright, who was chief of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), told Congress in May he believes he was demoted after trying to limit the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat the coronavirus.

  • Context: President Trump and his allies in conservative media at the time promoted the antimalarial drug, despite a lack of evidence that it is an effective treatment for the virus.

In a new addendum to the complaint he filed in May, Bright’s lawyers wrote that National Institutes of Health officials rejected his idea for a national coronavirus testing strategy “because of political considerations," according to the Times.

  • Bright also accused the officials of ignoring his request to join Operation Warp Speed, the program to fast-track a coronavirus vaccine.

Worth noting: One of Bright's lawyers said he “remains very concerned” about the politicization of science from the White House, specifically pointing to the appointment of neuroradiologist Scott Atlas as an adviser on the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

  • "[Atlas'] arrival to the White House Task Force has added to confusion and consternation among senior public health officials about who makes decisions and guides the planning for the pandemic response," the complaint reads.
  • "On several occasions, senior HHS officials, including [testing coordinator] Admiral Giroir, have complained about the confusing and sometimes disruptive role Dr. Atlas has played and continues to play. It is becoming increasingly unclear to Dr. Bright who is in charge of making final decisions for COVID-19 testing efforts."

Go deeper

Updated 20 hours ago - Health

Fox News president and several hosts advised to quarantine in COVID-19 precaution

A political display is posted on the outside of the Fox News headquarters on 6th Avenue in New York City in July. Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images

Fox News president Jay Wallace and anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum are among those recommended to get tested and quarantine after possible exposure to COVID-19, the New York Times first reported Sunday night.

The big picture: The Fox News contingent, which also included "The Five" show hosts Juan Williams and Dana Perino, were on a charter flight from Nashville to New York following Thursday's presidential debate with a person who later tested positive for the coronavirus.

5 hours ago - Health

Axios-Ipsos poll: Federal response has only gotten worse

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note ±3.3% margin of error for the total sample size; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Americans believe the federal government's handling of the pandemic has gotten significantly worse over time, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: Every other institution measured in Week 29 of our national poll — from state and local governments to people's own employers and area businesses — won positive marks for improving their responses since those panicked early days in March and April.

Updated 21 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Pence no longer expected at Amy Coney Barrett's final confirmation vote

Photo: Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence no longer plans to attend the Senate's final confirmation vote for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a Pence aide confirmed to CNN and Politico on Monday. On Sunday, Senate Democrats claimed that his presence after possible exposure to the coronavirus would be a "violation of common decency."

Driving the news: Five of Pence's aides were recently diagnosed with COVID-19, including his chief of staff, who is currently quarantining. Pence has continued his campaign travel despite his possible exposure, which goes against CDC guidelines.