Anthony S. Fauci, MD, is chief medical adviser on COVID-19 to President Biden, and has served under seven U.S. presidents. As director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Fauci is leading the White House’s efforts in the fight against COVID-19. Washington Post columnist David Ignatius will talk with Fauci about the latest developments in vaccine research, production and distribution, the mutated coronavirus strains sweeping through Britain and South America, and how to remain vigilant against the spread of the virus.

Highlights

Anthony S. Fauci says we need to have good surveillance so that we know when coronavirus variants arise in the U.S. and we need to be prepared to upgrade our vaccines. “There are challenges ahead...We can meet them, but it’s something that we need to take very seriously.” (Washington Post Live)
Anthony S. Fauci says the coronavirus variant first identified in South Africa has become more concerning and problematic because it has evolved to become the dominant virus in that country. Fauci says that variant evades antibodies and today’s vaccine may not work as well against it. “It's something that you have to stay ahead of. You have to stay one or two steps ahead of the game.” (Washington Post Live)
When asked whether he thinks the U.S. should call an audible and move to providing single vaccine doses, Anthony S. Fauci said data tells us receiving two doses is the “optimum approach to get a good response.” "There's a danger there. The danger is the efficacy following a single dose is not as great as after the second dose." (Washington Post Live)
Anthony S. Fauci says it’s possible the CDC will recommend double masking after they do more research on the issue. “The reason they don’t recommend it right now, it’s a science-based organization, the CDC. They make recommendations based on data and science, so that’s the reason they’re going to look at that particular issue.” (Washington Post Live)
Anthony S. Fauci says estimates on when we could return to normalcy have to include contingencies. “You cannot give a definite answer when you have so many moving parts.” (Washington Post Live)
When asked what grade he would give the U.S. for vaccine distribution, Anthony S. Fauci said he would give the country an “A+++” for developing a successful vaccine so quickly, but he admits the U.S. hasn’t done as well with getting shots into people’s arms. “You’re right it has not been perfect, and one of the things that President Biden has made very, very clear is that if things aren’t working well, don’t deny it, don’t run away from it, try and fix it. And that’s exactly what we’re trying to do.” (Washington Post Live)

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.