Francis Collins, who guided the NIH through the Covid-19 crisis, comes out
During the pandemic, Dr Collins helped found a project involving partnerships and collaborations with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies that have made it possible to simultaneously conduct numerous trials of antivirals and other treatments against Covid-19.
Some scientists and public health experts have criticized the federal government’s efforts to study treatments for Covid-19, saying some that ultimately failed to show solid results – such as convalescent plasma and hydroxychloroquine – have been priority over more rigorous research.
Dr H. Clifford Lane, clinical director of the Allergies and Infectious Diseases branch of the NIH, said Dr Collins skillfully operates in a chaotic research environment, quickly mobilizing NIH resources to investigate more promising treatments, including remdesivir and monoclonal antibodies.
Dr Fauci said Dr Collins has critically pivoted his expertise towards the broader response to the pandemic. It was, he said, “truly extraordinary to have someone who is basically a geneticist, whose diseases involved cystic fibrosis and progeria, who turns out to be a valued colleague in the infectious disease field. , pandemics, public health “.
Dr Collins almost quit early last year, Dr Fauci said. One evening he visited Dr Fauci in his office and admitted that he was considering leaving for personal reasons. “I begged him not to resign,” said Dr Fauci, “because I said,” We are in the Trump administration. If you resign, we have no idea who will be appointed director. So we need you to stay with us. Don’t go now. And he understood it.
Dr Collins obtained a doctorate. in physical chemistry from Yale in 1974 but decided molecular biology was more exciting. He spent years training again. He also wanted to be a doctor and got his MD from the University of North Carolina.
He was not brought up by religion, but when a patient asked Dr Collins if he believed in God, he realized, he said, that he did not know. He began to read a lot and was convinced by writer and theologian CS Lewis, who said faith can be a rational choice. At 27, he became a non-denominational evangelical Christian.