August 10, 2020History of Medicine
Anthony Stephen Fauci is an American physician and immunologist who has served as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) since 1984. Since January 2020, he has been one of the lead members of the Trump Administration's White House Coronavirus Task Force addressing the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.
Fauci is considered one of the most trusted medical figures in the country and is recognized as one of the world's leading experts on infectious diseases. As a physician with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Fauci has served American public health in various capacities for over 50 years, and has been an advisor to every U.S. president since Ronald Reagan. He has made contributions to HIV/AIDS research and other immunodeficiencies, both as a scientist and as the head of the NIAID at the NIH, and from 1983 to 2002 was one of the world's most-cited scientists in scientific journals.
Fauci was born December 24, 1940 in the NYC borough of Brooklyn, and he does have the accent to prove it. His parents, Stephen A. Fauci and Eugenia Abys Fauci, owned a local pharmacy, where his father was a Columbia University-trained pharmacist, his mother and sister Denise worked the register, and Fauci delivered prescriptions. The pharmacy was located in the Dyker Heights section of Brooklyn, directly beneath the family apartment, previously in the Bensonhurst neighborhood.
Fauci's paternal grandparents, Antonino Fauci and Calogera Guardino, were from Sciacca, Italy. His maternal grandmother, Raffaella Trematerra, from Naples, Italy, was a seamstress. His maternal grandfather, Giovanni Abys, was born in Switzerland and was an artist, noted for landscape and portrait painting, magazine illustrations (Italy) as well as graphic design for commercial labels, including olive oil cans. His grandparents emigrated from Italy to the United States in the late 19th century.
Fauci attended Regis High School in Manhattan's Upper East Side, where he captained the school's basketball team. He then went to the College of the Holy Cross, graduating in 1962 with a Bachelor of Arts in classics. Fauci then attended medical school at Cornell University Medical College where he graduated first in his class with a Doctor of Medicine in 1966. He then completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, now known as New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medicine.
In 1968, Fauci joined the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a clinical associate in the Laboratory of Clinical Investigation (LCI) at NIAID. In 1974, he became Head of the Clinical Physiology Section, LCI, and in 1980 was appointed Chief of the Laboratory of Immunoregulation. In 1984, he became director of NIAID, a position he still holds as of 2020. In that role he has the responsibility for an extensive research portfolio of basic and applied research on infectious and immune-mediated illnesses. Fauci has been at the forefront of U.S. efforts to contend with viral diseases like HIV/AIDS, SARS, the 2009 swine flu pandemic, MERS, Ebola and COVID-19.
Fauci has made important scientific observations that contributed to the understanding of regulation of the human immune response, and is recognized for delineating the mechanisms whereby immunosuppressive agents adapt to that response. Fauci has also contributed to the development of therapies for formerly fatal diseases such as polyarteritis nodosa, granulomatosis with polyangiitis, and lymphomatoid granulomatosis. In a 1985 Stanford University Arthritis Center Survey of the American Rheumatism Association, membership ranked Fauci's work on the treatment of polyarteritis nodosa and granulomatosis with polyangiitis as one of the most important advances in patient management in rheumatology over the previous 20 years.
Fauci has contributed to the understanding of how HIV destroys the body's defenses leading to the progression to AIDS. He has outlined the mechanisms of induction of HIV expression by endogenous cytokines and has worked to develop strategies for the therapy and immune reconstitution of patients with the disease, as well as for a vaccine to prevent HIV infection. His current research is concentrated on identifying the nature of the immunopathogenic mechanisms of HIV infection and the scope of the body's immune responses to HIV.
On October 16, 2014, in a United States Congressional hearing regarding the Ebola virus crisis, Fauci, who, as the director of NIAID had been discussing the importance of screening for weeks, testified that NIAID was still some distance away from producing sufficient quantities of cures or vaccines for widespread trials. Specifically, Fauci said, While NIAID is an active participant in the global effort to address the public health emergency occurring in west Africa, it is important to recognize that we are still in the early stages of understanding how infection with the Ebola virus can be treated and prevented. Fauci also remarked in the hearing: As we continue to expedite research while enforcing high safety and efficacy standards, the implementation of the public health measures already known to contain prior Ebola virus outbreaks and the implementation of treatment strategies such as fluid and electrolyte replacement are essential to preventing additional infections, treating those already infected, protecting healthcare providers, and ultimately bringing this epidemic to an end.
Fauci has been a de facto public health spokesperson for the office of the President during the pandemic and strong advocate of ongoing social distancing efforts in the United States. On March 29 he argued for the extension of the initial 15-day self-isolation guidelines, issued by the executive office, to at least until the end of April 2020. Due to his disagreements with Trump, Fauci has been criticized by right-wing pundits and received death threats that resulted in the need for a security detail. While there have been disagreements, Trump has also praised Fauci.
Fauci is a member of the National Academy of Sciences; the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; the National Academy of Medicine; the American Philosophical Society; and the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters; as well as other numerous professional societies including the American Society for Clinical Investigation; the Infectious Diseases Society of America; and the American Association of Immunologists. 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 1,000 scientific publications, including several textbooks. Fauci has been a visiting professor at many medical centers, and has received 30 honorary doctorates from universities in the U.S. and abroad.