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WATCH: Bright says focus on unproven hydroxychloroquine pulled virus researchers from key work

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Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., on May 14 asked vaccine expert Rick Bright a series of questions about the Trump administration’s efforts to promote hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, as a treatment for the novel coronavirus despite a lack of scientific data supporting its effectiveness. Lujan asked whether the focus on this drug distracted Bright’s team from developing other potential virus solutions. Bright said the directive to prioritize hydroxychloroquine was “extremely distracting to dozens of federal scientists who were focused on the coronavirus outbreak. They had to set aside all other work to try to put together this protocol." Bright testified on Thursday before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s health subcommittee in a hearing dedicated to “protecting scientific integrity” of the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. In a whistleblower complaint filed last week, Bright said he was reassigned to a different position in late April for pushing back against the Trump administration’s virus response strategy.

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