Jan. 27, 2021

NIH Director: Collaboration Amid Covid-19 Chaos, and Biden’s First 100 Days

NIH Director: Collaboration Amid Covid-19 Chaos, and Biden’s First 100 Days

NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, M.D.,PhD is one the few carryovers from the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force. 

As the longest serving director for the agency, he has worked through multiple presidential administrations. But the Covid-19 pandemic and scientific decisions that were, at times, “overruled by political considerations,” tested his resilience while working under the Trump administration.   

“There were a couple of times where I did wonder: am I doing the right thing by staying in this situation? But I'm glad I did,” he toldTrack the Vax. “I think again, the best thing I could do is to try to bring whatever skill I have in terms of science, medicine, and management of research, to try to help the people in the world who are suffering.”

President Donald Trump visits NIH on March 3, 2020 and tours the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ Vaccine Research Center (VRC) to learn about research on a vaccine for the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. From left: VRC Deputy Director Dr. Barney Graham, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, VRC Director John Mascola, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, President Trump, and VRC Research Fellow Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett.

(President Donald Trump visits NIH on March 3, 2020)

In this episode of Track the Vax, Collins shares how research thrived on collaboration amid chaos, and how the work is not done yet. 

As the Biden administration announced some lofty goals for its first 100 days, Collins shares why vaccinating more than 100-million people in the first 100-days may not be realistic.  

In this episode he also discusses:

  • How international partnerships to respond to COVID-19 continued despite U.S. official disengagement from WHO 
  • New projects that are helping scientists stay ahead of the strain changes. 
  • And how the NIH moved into venture capitalist territory--a lesson that they could take into the future.

Listen along with us on:  Apple Podcasts , Spotify, or wherever you listen