National Institutes of Health (NIH) director Francis Collins on Tuesday made known to the public his plans of stepping down from his position by the end of the year, just weeks following the leaked documents that showed just how the U.S. funnelled federal funds into the Wuhan Institute of Virology for its gain-of-function research on coronaviruses.
The 71 year old has led the NIH for 12 years and is set to return to the National Human Genome Research Institute.
"I am proud of all we've accomplished. I fundamentally believe, however, that no single person should serve in the position too long, and that it's time to bring in a new scientist to lead the NIH into the future," a statement from Collins read, as reported by Fox News. "I'm most grateful and proud of the NIH staff and the scientific community, whose extraordinary commitment to lifesaving research delivers hope to the American people and the world every day."
President Joe Biden had nothing but praises for the NIH director despite the agency's ties to the gain-of-function research in Wuhan, China, where COVID is believed by many to have originated from. Biden described Collins as a man who had an "unmatched ability to unlock the possibilities within our reach and that define the best of who we are as Americans."
"It has been an incredible privilege to lead this great agency for more than a decade," Collins said in a statement published on his agency's website. According to Breitbart, the NIH director's resignation comes just weeks after Richard Ebright of Rutgers University accused Collins of making false public statements about National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) grants to the Wuhan lab.
Since then, it has been proven that federal funds did go to the study of "chimeric SARS-related coronaviruses" that "could infect human cells." Ebright accused both Collins and NIAID director Anthony Fauci of presenting "untruthful assertions" that said "the NIH did not support gain-of-function research or potential pandemic pathogen enhancement at WIV."
Collins was appointed by President Barack Obama back in 2009 and since then has become the longest-serving NIH director who has served in up to three administrations-- Obama, Trump, and Biden. He is also the founder of the BioLogos Foundation, an alleged "Christian" advocacy group that supports the unbiblical idea that God created the world through evolution and aimed to bridge the gap between science and religion.
Collins is the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom from former President George W. Bush in 2007. He was honored for his work on the Human Genome Project, an international scientific research effort that aims to define the human DNA's base pairs.
According to Politico, the NIH budget increased by 38% during Collins' 12 years of leadership, from $30 billion in 2009 to $41.3 billion in 2021. The NIH director also proposed several ambitious initiatives seeking to address health issues such as Alzheimer's disease, cancer, opioid use disorder, rare diseases and the coronavirus pandemic.