Anthony Fauci, 81, will leave his posts as chief medical adviser to Joseph R. Biden and director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
As a veteran immunologist, Dr. Fauci served as an adviser to seven U.S. presidents starting with Ronald Reagan, focusing on the dangers of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, including Ebola, HIV/AIDS, monkeypox, and COVID-19.
Some Republicans have pledged to investigate him if they gain control of either the Senate or the House of Representatives in November’s congressional elections. They say they would examine his reaction to the coronavirus pandemic, citing his university-funded research at a Chinese institute.
Fauci says he will stay until December to search for a new director of NIAID and help address an expected autumn upswing in COVID-19 infections. In addition, he said he hopes to use his expertise to help inspire a new generation of doctors to pursue careers in public health, medicine, and science.
Dr. Anthony Fauci Proud to Serve President Joe Biden as Chief Medical Advisor
Over the past 38 years, I have had the enormous privilege of serving under and advising seven Presidents of the United States, beginning with President Ronald Reagan, on newly emerging and re-emerging infectious disease threats including HIV/AIDS, West Nile virus, the anthrax attacks, pandemic influenza, various bird influenza threats, Ebola and. among others.
For some time, Dr. Fauci has hinted that he was thinking of retiring. However, in an interview Sunday evening, he mentioned dedicating himself to writing, traveling, and encouraging young people to enter government service.
Few scientists have had as significant or as long-lasting an impact on public policy. Anthony Fauci joined the National Institutes of Health in 1968 when Lyndon B. Johnson was president. He was appointed the director of its infectious disease branch in 1984 when the AIDS epidemic demanded attention. He has counseled every president since Ronald Reagan, but he could not escape the politicization of the Trump era, as President Trump toyed with the idea of firing him.
Dr. Fauci’s High Profile Came at a Cost and Required a Security Detail
Sen Rand Paul, who is also a physician, is among the Republicans who have said they would win control of Congress in the fall. However, he said he did not intend to work for the president, as some of his critics have suggested.
Dr. Fauci did not specify his departure date. He hoped that if he stayed through the fall and early winter, the U.S. would live with the coronavirus in a steady state, though there are no guarantees. He was targeted by activists accusing him of the deaths of gay men by not moving fast enough to try new medicines.
“Instead of throwing me out, they tried to discredit me,” Dr. Fauci says. “If you are propagating lies, the person who is telling the truth based on science suddenly becomes the adversary. I do not doubt that I am leaving this work in competent hands.”
He says he will use his remaining months in government to continue to put his total effort, passion, and commitment into his current responsibilities. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom award in 2008 under President George W. Bush.
Written by Janet Grace Ortigas
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
Reuters: Fauci, face of US COVID response, to step down from government posts; by Julie Steenhuysen
The New York Times: Fauci Says He Will Step Down in December to Pursue His ‘Next Chapter;’ by Sheryl Gay Stolberg
CNN Politics: Dr. Fauci announces he is stepping down from current roles; by Betsy Klein
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Inset Image courtesy of Isaac Kohane’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License