Anthony Fauci is the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He is an immunologist who has made substantial contributions to research on AIDS and other immunodeficiencies. He has pioneered the field of human immunoregulation and developed effective therapies for formally fatal inflammatory and immune-mediated diseases. In the field of AIDS research, he has helped contribute to an understanding of how the AIDS virus destroys the body's defenses leading to its susceptibility to deadly infections.
He has also served as an editor of Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine and has authored, coauthored or edited more than 1,100 scientific publications, including several textbooks. Dr. Fauci is a key advisor to the White House and Department of Health and Human Services on global AIDS issues and public health protections against emerging infectious disease threats, such as pandemic influenza. He was educated at Cornell University Medical College and holds 32 honorary doctorate degrees.
Question: How do you contribute?
Anthony Fauci: If you talk about the fundamental scientific community, the things that don’t necessarily get into the newspapers that the scientists know about, it’s probably for the basic groundbreaking work that myself and my colleagues did in HIV/AIDS, and delineating the pathogenic mechanisms of HIV; and to understanding the mechanisms of how this virus works, which really laid the framework for the ultimate development of therapies. So it was the underpinnings of the work that ultimately led to what we have now.
So the scientific community – and there were many of us. I by no means; I was not the only one that was doing that. There are a lot of very good people working on that. That’s probably what I’m best known in that respect.
From the standpoint of public perception, I’m probably best known as a scientist who is the spokesperson for very difficult public health and scientific issues; like trying to get the country [USA] to appreciate the depth, and the breadth, and the seriousness of the global AIDS pandemic.
When there was a bio terror attack in this country with the anthrax attack in 2001, I played a role in trying to ease the concerns of the nation about what the potential implications of this.
Right now, I’m preparing of the possibility of a pandemic influenza. So if you look at what the general public sees, I think they know me best for someone who tries to – in a calm, rational way – analyze the science and present it to the American public in a way that’s understandable, and that’s trustworthy.
Recorded On: July 6 2007