Coronavirus cases in the U.S. have surged past 11 million, with more than 240,000 Americans dead. Anthony S. Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), is the highest-ranking public health expert on viruses. For months, Fauci has been warning about a difficult winter and asking people to wear masks and practice physical distancing. As state leaders scramble to implement new restrictions, several vaccine trials are showing encouraging results. Fauci will discuss how to slow the spread of infection and explain the challenges of distributing the vaccine once it’s approved. Join Washington Post national political reporter Robert Costa for a one-on-one conversation with Fauci.

Highlights

Anthony S. Fauci, the highest-ranking public health expert on viruses, discussed the risk of small gatherings indoors during an interview on Nov. 23. (The Washington Post)
Anthony Fauci, MD, said he doesn’t agree with states independently checking the efficacy of coronavirus vaccine but adds that he understands. “I can understand, though I don't agree with their doing that, because I think what they have heard, unfortunately, what I had referred to a moment ago as mixed messages from Washington. So, I mean, I don't fault them for wondering what's going on, but I can tell them, if they're listening, and I hope they are, that the process really is a sound process.” (Washington Post Live)
AstraZeneca became the third pharmaceutical company to announce its vaccine has a high efficacy rate. Anthony Fauci, MD, says AstraZeneca’s announcement “bodes well” for global need for multiple efficacious vaccines. “This is the third vaccine that we have that have given a very high degree of efficacy, which bodes well for vaccinology in general in the context of COVID-19…We would like to have multiple candidates…So that these companies can start pumping out vaccine doses.” (Washington Post Live)
Anthony Fauci, MD, says the NIH will be studying the long-term effects of the coronavirus and will be doing imaging studies to check for residual inflammation. “But there’s something else that’s going on with COVID-19, and those are individuals who don’t necessarily have had advanced disease…They had symptomatic disease. What we’re finding, is that a certain percentage of them...anywhere from 25-30 percent have what is called a “post-covid syndrome.”...it takes them anywhere from weeks to months and maybe even beyond to feel perfectly normal.” (Washington Post Live)
Anthony Fauci, MD, said “we’re not even close to herd immunity as proven by the fact that we have had spikes in areas that had previous spikes.” He explained herd immunity is “a question of two components, an efficacious vaccine, and getting as many people vaccinated as you possibly can.” (Washington Post Live)

Guest

Anthony S. Fauci

Dr. Fauci was appointed director of NIAID in 1984. He oversees an extensive portfolio of basic and applied research to prevent, diagnose, and treat established infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, respiratory infections, diarrheal diseases, tuberculosis and malaria as well as emerging diseases such as Ebola and Zika. NIAID also supports research on transplantation and immune-related illnesses, including autoimmune disorders, asthma and allergies. The NIAID budget for fiscal year 2020 is an estimated $5.9 billion.

Dr. Fauci has advised six presidents on HIV/AIDS and many other domestic and global health issues. He was one of the principal architects of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a program that has saved millions of lives throughout the developing world.

Dr. Fauci also is the longtime chief of the Laboratory of Immunoregulation. He has made many contributions to basic and clinical research on the pathogenesis and treatment of immune-mediated and infectious diseases. He helped pioneer the field of human immunoregulation by making important basic scientific observations that underpin the current understanding of the regulation of the human immune response. In addition, Dr. Fauci is widely recognized for delineating the precise ways that immunosuppressive agents modulate the human immune response. He developed effective therapies for formerly fatal inflammatory and immune-mediated diseases such as polyarteritis nodosa, granulomatosis with polyangiitis (formerly Wegener's granulomatosis), and lymphomatoid granulomatosis. A 1985 Stanford University Arthritis Center Survey of the American Rheumatism Association membership ranked Dr. Fauci’s work on the treatment of polyarteritis nodosa and granulomatosis with polyangiitis among the most important advances in patient management in rheumatology over the previous 20 years.

Dr. Fauci has made seminal contributions to the understanding of how HIV destroys the body's defenses leading to its susceptibility to deadly infections. Further, he has been instrumental in developing treatments that enable people with HIV to live long and active lives. He continues to devote much of his research to the immunopathogenic mechanisms of HIV infection and the scope of the body's immune responses to HIV.

In a 2019 analysis of Google Scholar citations, Dr. Fauci ranked as the 41st most highly cited researcher of all time. According to the Web of Science, he ranked 8th out of more than 2.2 million authors in the field of immunology by total citation count between 1980 and January 2019.​

Dr. Fauci has delivered major lectures all over the world and is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the highest honor given to a civilian by the President of the United States), the National Medal of Science, the George M. Kober Medal of the Association of American Physicians, the Mary Woodard Lasker Award for Public Service, the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research, the Robert Koch Gold Medal, the Prince Mahidol Award, and the Canada Gairdner Global Health Award. He also has received 45 honorary doctoral degrees from universities in the United States and abroad.

Dr. Fauci is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society, as well as other professional societies including the American College of Physicians, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the American Association of Immunologists, and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. He serves on the editorial boards of many scientific journals; as an editor of Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine; and as author, coauthor, or editor of more than 1,300 scientific publications, including several textbooks.