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Virus Testing Head Confirmed for World Health Organization Board

May 7, 2020, 9:18 PM

A top Health & Human Services Department official who has been coordinating Covid-19 testing for the federal government was confirmed by the Senate to represent the U.S. on the board of the World Health Organization.

Brett Giroir, HHS assistant secretary for health, was approved by a voice vote Thursday to join the 34-member WHO executive board.

This comes after President Donald Trump and his administration have said the WHO took Chinese claims about the coronavirus at “face value.” Trump also ordered a 60-day freeze of U.S. funding for the organization in April.

Giroir has been charged with leading the administration’s efforts to end the spread of HIV, stem the opioid crisis, and to ramp up testing for Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. Giroir was also the acting Food and Drug Administration commissioner for a little over a month in 2019.

Giroir will continue in his HHS job, a spokesperson for his office confirmed when he was nominated.

The WHO’s executive board is made up of representatives sent by their member countries. The board implements the WHO’s policies, advises it, and facilitates its work.

Giroir will replace former Centers for Disease Control & Prevention Director Thomas Frieden, who was nominated by President Barack Obama and also approved by the Senate on a voice vote.

To contact the reporter on this story: Shira Stein in Washington at sstein@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Fawn Johnson at fjohnson@bloomberglaw.com; Peggy Aulino at maulino@bloomberglaw.com

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