Francis Collins Collins The director of National Institutes of Health announced Tuesday that he would be stepping down at the end of 2021..

” I am proud of what we have accomplished. Collins stated that he believes that the NIH should not be governed by one person for too long. He also said that it was time to hire a new scientist who will lead the NIH in the future. I am most thankful and proud to the NIH staff, and to the scientific community for their extraordinary dedication to lifesaving research that brings hope to Americans and around the globe every day. “

The 71-year-old physician-geneticist, who oversaw the research center for 12 years, aims to return to the National Human Genome Research Institute, the Washington Post reported. This lab is a NIH branch.

NIH didn’t immediately reply to Fox News’s after-hours request for comment. According to the paper, Collins was not appointed interim director by NIH.

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Collins led the acclaimed Human Genome Project to completion in 2003 and, in recent months, he has worked to accelerate treatments for the coronavirus. He appeared on “Fox News in August and highlighted the contagious nature the delta variant while acknowledging the effectiveness of vaccines.

Collins explained that although infections in vaccinated individuals are uncommon and pose no risk to them, they can be transmitted to other people. He explained that the CDC recommends people living in high-severity areas to wear masks indoors even if they have been vaccinated.

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“This is the best way to stop the transmission of this very contagious virus,” he said.

Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer, Ashley Cozzolino and The Associated Press contributed to this report