August 5th, 2020 by Dr. Francis Collins
August 1, 2020 would have been the 100th birthday of Henrietta Lacks, the Black woman whose cervical cancer cells gave rise to the immortal HeLa cell line. HeLa cells have played an extraordinary role in scientific research, underlying multiple Nobel Prize-winning discoveries and enabling medical advances for polio, cancer, Ebola virus disease, sickle cell disease, and countless other conditions. To mark the occasion, I joined Henrietta’s family, friends, and champions for the # HELA100 Virtual Symposium: The Incontestable Impact of Henrietta Lacks. This still image from the videoconference shows some of the participants (starting top left to right): Camille Schrier, Miss America 2020; Rebecca Skloot, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks; artist Helen Wilson-Roe; Francis Collins; sociologist Ruha Benjamin, Princeton University; and family members David Lacks, Jr. and Jeri Lacks-Whye. The symposium is the start of the yearlong #HeLa100 Centennial CELLebration of Henrietta Lacks’ life and legacy.
July 28th, 2020 by Dr. Francis Collins
Glad to join Anthony Fauci (left), head of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Matt Hepburn (center), Department of Defense, at NIH on July 27, 2020, to launch the first efficacy trial of an investigational vaccine for COVID-19 under Operation Warp Speed. Credit: NIH
July 21st, 2020 by Dr. Francis Collins
On Sunday morning, I joined Chuck Todd, host of NBC’s long-running news/interview program “Meet the Press,” for a conversation about COVID-19. I spoke to him remotely from an NIH studio in Bethesda, MD and started our 11-minute conversation wearing my mask. Our talk was wide-ranging, but I did get to slip in a mention of how people can sign up to participate in COVID vaccine and prevention trials. I was on “Meet the Press” on July 19, 2020.
July 2nd, 2020 by Dr. Francis Collins
It was an honor to testify before the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies on July 2. The topic of the hearing was the President’s plan to develop and distribute a COVID-19 vaccine. Also testifying were Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Gary Disbrow, acting director of Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). The nearly three-hour hearing allowed a productive exchange of information on this critical topic and many of NIH’s high-priority efforts to develop vaccines and therapeutics for COVID-19. Credit: C-Span.