Anthony Fauci: American doctor under siege

On Saturday, February 1, 2020, at almost 6:45 pm, Dr. Anthony Fauci sent this email, which may make him one of the most outstanding public scientists in the United States. This may be the biggest controversy of his time. .

“Thank you Christian. Talk on the phone as soon as possible,” he wrote.

Although the response is harmless, the background is explosive. Christian Anderson, professor of immunology at the Scripps Institute in La Jolla, California, has been explaining to Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, that the virus that caused the Covid-19 pandemic is showing signs of manipulation in the experiment Room.

Andersen’s news, this was released this week 3,000 page treasure house Fauci’s e-mail at the beginning of the pandemic helped support the theory that the disease started after the Wuhan Institute of Virology leaked. Andersen later denied this theory.

E-mail exchanges have exacerbated claims about the possibility of Fauci publicly downplaying laboratory leaks, even in conversations with other scientists about its potential advantages.

Now, the nicknamed “American Doctor” is facing calls for resignation and a series of criticisms from the right, because he insists that the root of the epidemic may be wild animals, not Chinese laboratories.

“There are a lot of questions that must be answered by Dr. Fauci,” said Donald Trump, the former president of which Fauci was an adviser, after the email was released. Trump’s supporters went further, many of whom accused Fauci of exaggerating the severity of the epidemic. Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri urged Fauci to resign on Friday.

Fauci himself admitted that he was worried. However, it is not about counter-blowing, but about its views on the United States. “It makes me worry about its evaluation of this country,” he told the Financial Times.

“Email shows that someone always evaluates data as it develops. But people selectively extract emails to distort reality.”

The 80-year-old Fauci is one of the most famous and respected doctors in the United States.

Since Ronald Reagan, he has provided advice to every president, and has earned a reputation in the scientific community for his work on HIV in the 1980s, when he was the first group One of the public doctors who raised the alarm about a strange new disease found in homosexuality. He helped to change the way medical trials are run, allowing more people to have access to potentially life-saving treatments, thus winning the respect of gay activists.

“Tony has completely changed the way HIV clinical trials are done,” said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota and Fauci’s old friend. “He is an excellent doctor, but he is also a natural leader who knows how to accomplish tasks.”

Fauci played an important role in the U.S. response to SARS, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, and Ebola in 2014-16, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came under fire for its response.

“There was a time when the CDC was unfairly attacked,” said Tom Frieden, then director of the CDC. “In that situation, many people would stand by and even pile up silently, but Tony did the opposite. He stood up for us internally, and stood up for us in public. He is a man.”

Fauci has always been one of the most prominent faces in the United States’ response to the new crown pneumonia epidemic. He is known for his frequent appearances on television, where he discusses the severity of the pandemic in plain language and a broad New York accent.

He is willing to refute Trump’s claims, such as the assertion that Covid-19 is similar to the flu, which has won him a large number of fans.

Garden signs in Washington, DC and elsewhere read: “Thank you, Dr. Fauci.” As of February, his approval rate was 60%—slightly higher than that of President Joe Biden, who is now the chief medical adviser. rate.

However, others believe that he is weakening Trump for political reasons. Paul Mango, deputy chief of staff of the Trump administration’s health department, said: “Tony Fauci is a good man and a great scientist, but unfortunately, he has portrayed himself as a political figure, which caused him to lose his credibility.”

Fauci denied this: “I sometimes have to refute something [Trump] Said it was because what he said was incorrect. For this reason, there seem to be radical people around me who think I am the enemy. I am not an enemy, I just want to figure out the truth. “

What is threatened now is his reputation for telling the truth.

He is accused of helping fund risk research in the Wuhan laboratory through a US$600,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health for bat coronavirus research. His critics say that he insists that the origin of the disease may come from wild animals, which is not so much a reflection of the evidence as it is his desire to protect his own institution.

Fauci Tell the Financial Times He still believes that the “overwhelming possibility” is that the Sars-Cov-2 virus is transmitted from animals to humans.

But he also admitted that some of the work performed by the Wuhan laboratory using NIH funds may violate safety standards-even if he said that the responsibility lies with the NGO Eco-Health Alliance, which performs this work.

“We will have to look back,” he said of the accusations that certain coronavirus work was carried out at a level 2 biosafety level, roughly equivalent to work carried out in a dentist’s office. “But this is something that the Eco-Health Alliance should monitor.”

The Eco-Health Alliance did not respond to a request for comment.

Fauci continued to respond to emails from professionals, journalists and the public late at night. “I can sleep for four hours now,” he said.

Friends worry that in the face of such a difficult job and the constant threats of attacks from Trump supporters, he may soon decide to withdraw from public life. But he insisted that this would not happen.

“I never thought of giving up,” he said. “When we determined this outbreak and smashed it, I was fed up.”

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About the Author: Agnes Zang