Dr. Fauci speaks on COVID, legacy in exclusive interview while visiting UIC

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Tuesday, February 20, 2024
Dr. Fauci speaks on COVID, legacy in exclusive Chicago interview
Dr. Anthony Fauci, who will soon be releasing a book, spoke in an exclusive interview while in town visiting University of Illinois Chicago, or UIC.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Dr. Anthony Fauci, who became a household name during the height of the COVID pandemic, was in Chicago Tuesday for an event at the University of Illinois Chicago.

His medical career lasted 54 years, 40 of which were spent as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at NIH, the National Institutes of Health.

"My career goes well beyond COVID; COVID is a small fraction of my 54-year career," Fauci said in an exclusive interview.

Retired in 2022, Fauci has worked under seven U.S. presidents.

"My team at NAID played a major role in development of vaccines that have saved millions of lives throughout the world," he said.

While an HIV vaccine isn't one of them, Dr. Fauci said he is most proud of his work on HIV. He helped with the development of drugs that have saved millions of lives, not only in the United States, but in developing nations.

As he looks ahead, Dr. Fauci is most concerned about the anti-vaccine movement born out of COVID.

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"It's really unfortunate to have an anti-science approach at a time when science is responsible for development of interventions that have saved millions of lives," he said.

If there were another pandemic, Dr. Fauci said the U.S. may be well prepared for it, but he said there must be lessons learned from COVID on how poorly the country responded to it.

"I think it was the fractionation of a healthcare response; it wasn't unified. Some cities, some states, were doing it one way. Some states were doing it another," he said.

Dr. Fauci called the politicization of vaccines crazy.

As for how he dealt with a job when he became a political pandemic football, he said he stayed focused on his job as the nation's leading infectious disease expert.

"My job is science, medicine and public health to save people's lives; I focus like a laser beam on that. You put the other things aside as being distractions," Fauci said.

While he retired from the NIH, Dr. Fauci remains very busy. He is a professor at Georgetown University, and, in June, he comes out with a memoir.