Francis Collins, longtime head of NIH, will resign, report says

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    Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, is set to announce his resignation on Tuesday and will vacate his post by the end of 2020, according to reports.

    The 71-year-old physician-geneticist, who oversaw the research center for 12 years, aims to return to the National Human Genome Research Institute, the Washington Post reported. The lab is a branch of NIH.

    NIH did not immediately respond to an after-hours email from Fox News seeking comment. The paper, citing an NIH official, reported that the agency does not have an interim director to replace Collins.

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    Collins led the acclaimed Human Genome Project to completion in 2003 and, in recent months, he has worked to accelerate treatments for the coronavirus. In August, he appeared on “Fox News Sunday” and stressed the highly contagious nature of the Delta variant, while acknowledging that vaccines are generally effective against it.

    Collins went on to say that while infections of vaccinated people are rare and do not pose significant risks to those people themselves, vaccinated people who do catch it can transmit it to to others. That, he explained, is why the CDC is recommending people in areas where there is high transmission to go back to wearing masks indoors, even if they are vaccinated.

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    “This is the best way to stop the transmission of this very contagious virus,” he said.

    Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer and the Associated Press contributed to this report

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