Dr. Anthony Fauci, the leading expert on infectious diseases in the United States, said he will retire before the end of President Joe Biden’s term in office in 2025.
The 81-year-old Fauci has led the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984. He took over the post at the emergence of the HIV/AIDS outbreak, and came under intense criticism from HIV activists who accused the government of neglect because the virus at the time primarily affected gay men. But eventually, he was able to forge a close bond with activists as the NIAID developed effective antiviral treatments.
He endured similar criticism four decades later at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 as he became the face of the federal government’s response under then-President Donald Trump. His public contradictions of Trump’s support of unproven treatments and the president’s dismissal of mitigation strategies, such as face masks, made him a target of staunch right-wing activists and politicians. Fauci later had to obtain personal security after he and his family received death threats.
Fauci has advised seven U.S. presidents on infectious disease outbreaks such as the 2001 anthrax attacks, Ebola and Zika. In addition to his role as head of NIAID, he also serves as President Biden’s chief medical advisor.
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.