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AIDS Researcher Robert Redfield Is the New CDC Director. Here's Why the Pick Is Controversial

AIDS Researcher Robert Redfield Is the New CDC Director. Here's Why the Pick Is Controversial
From TIME - March 22, 2018

The Trump administration has tapped HIV researcher Dr. Robert Redfield to be the new leader of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),

Redfield will be replacing Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, who stepped down from CDC director after Politico reported that she had bought shares in a tobacco company after accepting the position. Redfield will not require Senate confirmation.

However, reactions to his selection have been mixed.

Before joining the CDC, Redfield was a professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the co-founder of the universitys Institute of Human Virology. Over his career, he is credited with making important observations on the transmission of HIV, and he has studied the care of people with chronic viral infections.

However, his reputation as an HIV expert is not without controversy. In 1993, Redfield was investigated by the U.S. Army for allegedly misrepresenting data regarding an AIDS vaccine under research at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. The vaccine was meant to help treat people already infected with the disease. During presentations, Redfield reportedly described statistically significant decreases in the amount of HIV in the blood of people who received the vaccine, but Redfield was later accused of misrepresenting that data.

Though the Army acknowledged there were issues about the accuracy of the data, Redfield was ultimately cleared of any allegations of scientific misconduct. However, one of the whistleblowers who raised the issue of the trial data to the Army told Kaiser Health News (KHN) that he remains concerns about what happened. Either he was egregiously sloppy with data or it was fabricated, said former Air Force Lt. Col. Craig Hendrix, a doctor who is now director of the division of clinical pharmacology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, to KHN. It was somewhere on that spectrum, both of which were serious and raised questions about his trustworthiness.

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