Editor’s Note: This is a developing story. Please come back for updates.
Anthony Fauci, MD, an adviser to seven presidents and a key figure in the US’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic, announced Monday that he will step down in December.
“I’m announcing today that I will be stepping down as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and head of the NIAID Immunoregulation Laboratory, as well as the position of chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden,” he said Fauci. he said in a statement. “I will be leaving these positions in December this year to pursue the next chapter of my career.”
But Fauci, who has led the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for nearly four decades, says he won’t retire.
“After more than 50 years of government service, I intend to pursue the next phase of my career while I still have as much energy and passion for my field,” Fauci said. “I want to use what I’ve learned as director of NIAID to continue to advance science and public health and to inspire and guide the next generation of scientific leaders as they help prepare the world to meet future infectious disease threats.”
During the first year of the pandemic, Fauci was perhaps the most public face of the federal response. He participated in nearly daily White House press conferences under then-President Donald Trump.
But Fauci’s insistence that science dictates the fight against the coronavirus and its disease, COVID-19, often puts him at odds with Trump. This helped make Fauci a target of many conservatives as well as Republican officials.
His public profile under President Joe Biden has been much lower, but his words continue to have the power to influence public behavior.
“Today marks the end of an era,” National Institutes of Health Director Lawrence Tabak, DDS, said in a statement. Fauci has “dedicated his life to advancing knowledge about the causes of complex diseases ranging from HIV to asthma, rarely satisfied with anything less than a cure. For Tony, it’s personal. He works tirelessly on behalf of all patients, often at great personal expense, and always bringing his Brooklyn tenacity to the fight.”