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ASHINGTON — Dr. Francis Collins is being held over as the director of the National Institutes of Health by the Trump administration, his office announced Thursday afternoon.

Collins had been prepared to step down from the post on Friday, after Trump’s inauguration, and return to his lab at the NIH Bethesda campus. However, with Thursday’s news, he will remain as director for the time being.

It is not yet known whether Trump will permanently reappoint Collins to be his NIH director for his full term. Collin’s office directed all further questions to the Trump transition.

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Collins has met with Trump in New York in recent days and is known to be interested in staying on as director in the new administration.

Congressman Andy Harris of Maryland and Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, a biotech billionaire, have also met with Trump and have been rumored to be in consideration for NIH director.

Collins has served as NIH director since 2009, and has support among many prominent Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill. He has said that if he leaves the post, he will likely return to the NIH lab he previously led.

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