Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the chief medical adviser to U.S. President Joe Biden, will step down in December after more than 50 years of government service.
Fauci, 81, has been the NIAID director since 1984, and in 2020 became the face of the U.S. government’s efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While I am moving on from my current positions, I am not retiring,” Fauci said on Monday. “After more than 50 years of government service, I plan to pursue the next phase of my career while I still have so much energy and passion for my field.”
Fauci has served under seven U.S. Presidents, beginning with Ronald Reagan, on newly emerging and re-emerging infectious disease threats including HIV/AIDS, Ebola, and Zika.
Last month, the infectious disease expert told Reuters that he planned to retire by the end of Biden’s first term, but it could come much earlier than that.
Fauci has come under fire throughout the course of the COVID pandemic for multiple position reversals, lying about his involvement with the Wuhan lab, and taking a hard stance on keeping and reinstating pandemic restrictions.
Some Republicans have suggested that they plan to launch an investigation into Fauci if the GOP wins the majority in Congress after the midterm elections.
Following the announcement Rand Paul, who has been a consistent opponent of Fauci, reiterated that he plans to seek the truth about Fauci’s knowledge of the origins of COVID:
Fauci’s resignation will not prevent a full-throated investigation into the origins of the pandemic. He will be asked to testify under oath regarding any discussions he participated in concerning the lab leak.
— Rand Paul (@RandPaul) August 22, 2022
In contrast, President Biden spoke highly of Fauci following the announcement.
“As he leaves his position in the U.S. Government, I know the American people and the entire world will continue to benefit from Dr. Fauci‘s expertise in whatever he does next,” the president said in a statement.
“The United States of America is stronger, more resilient, and healthier because of him.”
Fauci will also step down as chief of the NIAID Laboratory of Immunoregulation.
Copyright 2022 Thomsons/Reuters (Additions and edits for FISM News by Michael Cardinal)