Anthony Fauci, who was one of the most visible faces during the COVID-19 pandemic, and who has served as head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, will step down in December.
Fauci, 81, announced the timeline of his departure Monday, after first alerting people to his plans in July. He has most recently served as President Biden’s chief medical adviser, but has been the top U.S. government infectious disease expert under seven presidents.
His career in public health began in 1968, when a then-27-year-old Fauci joined the National Institutes of Health. While he’s best known for his work during the COVID years, Fauci was also a key player in the nation’s response to AIDS, Ebola and Zika. He is one of the most cited researchers of all time.
Since the spread of COVID-19, he has become the target of unfounded conspiracy theories. He found himself at odds with President Donald Trump, which increased the criticism on him by the far right.
He has conceded that he and other disease experts did not act quickly enough to fight COVID and made some bad calls in the early days of the pandemic, such as not recommending masks for Americans.
Under his direction since 1984, the National Institute of Allergy and Infection Diseases has seen its budget grow to $6.3 billion, second only in size to the National Institutes of Health’s cancer division.
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