Anthony Fauci, the infectious disease expert who helped guide the country’s response to Covid-19 through two administrations, said he is likely to retire by the end of President Biden’s term.
Dr. Fauci, 81, has become one of the best-known public health leaders during the pandemic, often appearing at White House press briefings on Covid-19 and on national television and other media . He delivered unvarnished opinions in his signature Brooklyn focus on the dangers of the virus and the need to take precautions, drawing criticism from some Republicans.
Dr. Fauci is President Biden’s chief medical adviser, while also heading the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, or NIAID. He has led the institute since 1984, under the direction of seven presidents.
Dr Fauci said on Monday he had not decided on a date, but planned to step down by the end of Mr Biden’s term in January 2025. “Until then, I will leave my current position and pursue ‘other directions. in my professional career,” he said.
Politico previously reported on Dr. Fauci’s retirement plans. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Dr Fauci recently developed Covid-19 and suffered from mild symptoms. He was treated with an antiviral and experienced a brief rebound of mild symptoms a few days after completing treatment.
Since the start of the pandemic, Dr. Fauci has received praise from Democrats for his response to Covid-19 and criticism from some Republicans who have questioned his credibility. The tensions prompted online threats against Dr Fauci, who in 2020 received an armed security detail.
NIAID has played an important role in the rapid development of Covid-19 vaccines. As the main public face of the country’s public health response to the pandemic, he has also become something of a celebrity, with restaurants and stores selling Fauci donuts, bobblehead dolls and “Thank you Dr Fauci” signs.
At the same time, Dr. Fauci has also come under criticism and attack for his support for pandemic precautions such as masking and physical distancing, and his public opposition to unproven treatments like the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine. pushed by President Trump and others.
Before the pandemic, Dr. Fauci enjoyed widespread bipartisan support. His office is decorated with photos of some of the presidents he has served. In 2008, former President George W. Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work on HIV/AIDS.
“I am proud of the fact that I have had the privilege of advising seven presidents on emerging and re-emerging infectious disease issues,” Dr. Fauci said.
As director of NIAID for nearly four decades, Dr. Fauci led research to prevent and develop treatments and vaccines for HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, including tuberculosis, malaria, and Ebola.
He was a key architect of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, a multibillion-dollar program launched under President George W. Bush and continued under subsequent administrations that has put millions of people in the developing world on life-saving drug treatment.
PEPFAR “stands high among the things I’m proud of,” with the establishment of the HIV/AIDS program at NIAID and his own personal research into the disease, Dr. Fauci said.
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