Anthony Fauci, who the Trump administration barred from speaking freely, is a public-health hero. The disease expert guided the US through AIDS, Zika, and Ebola.

Anthony FauciAnthony Fauci

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaking at a press conference about the coronavirus, February 26, 2020.

Michael Brochstein / Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images


  • The Trump administration reportedly barred Anthony Fauci, a top US experts on infectious disease, from speaking publicly about the coronavirus outbreak without approval.
  • Some of Fauci’s statements about the virus have been at odds with claims from President Trump.
  • US public-health experts are angry, and one said his silence “is a threat to public health and safety.”
  • Fauci has been director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984. He’s tackled the AIDS, Zika, and Ebola epidemics.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Anthony Fauci has guided the US through the AIDS, Zika, and Ebola epidemics. 

He’s been the director of the US’ National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) since 1984, advising six presidents. George W. Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008.

Fauci is now helping to lead the response to the new coronavirus outbreak.

But the Trump administration has reportedly told Fauci and other top health officials “not to say anything else without clearance” from the White House, according to The New York Times. A NIAID spokesperson told Business Insider that “this is not true,” however.

Fauci’s comments about the coronavirus have contradicted Trump’s several times. Whereas Trump said the US “will essentially have a flu shot for this in a fairly quick manner,” Fauci has estimated that we’re between a year and a year-and-a-half away from a coronavirus vaccine. Trump also expressed optimism that COVID-19 — the disease the virus causes — will disappear, but Fauci has suggested the world is on the brink of a pandemic. 

US health experts were angry about the White House’s restrictions on Fauci’s speech, the Times reported, given that the world is in the midst of one of the worst public-health crises in years.

“Presidents Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama trusted Tony Fauci to be their top adviser on infectious disease, and the nation’s most trusted communicator to the public,” Ronald Klain, who led the Obama administration’s response to the 2014 Ebola crisis, tweeted on Thursday.

He added, “If Trump is changing that, it is a threat to public health and safety.” 

Here are some of Fauci’s biggest accolades and achievements.

Fauci joined the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as an autoimmune-disease researcher after getting his doctorate from Cornell University.

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Anthony Fauci attends the 21st International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa, on July 19, 2016.

Rajesh Jantilal/AFP via Getty


He’s spent more than half his life working in the public-health sector.

Fauci took over the top position at NIAID in 1984. The institute has an annual budget of nearly $6 billion and manages the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, measles, and tuberculosis in the US.

Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies about the measles outbreak in the United States before a House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington February 3, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Bourg

Anthony Fauci testifies about the US measles outbreak before a House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, February 3, 2015.

Jim Bourg/Reuters


NIAID also supports research on autoimmune disorders like asthma and allergies and handles oversight of emerging diseases such as Ebola and Zika.

When Fauci took over NIAID, the world was in the throes of the HIV/AIDS crisis. He was one of the leading architects of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, a program credited with saving millions of lives.

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) tours the Vaccine Research Center with Dr. Nancy Sullivan (L), U.S. Secretary of HHS Sylvia Burwell (2nd L), and Dr. Anthony Fauci (2nd R) to talk about Ebola, during a visit to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland in this file photo dated December 2, 2014.       REUTERS/Larry Downing

Barack Obama tours the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland with Anthony Fauci (middle), December 2, 2014.

Larry Downing/Reuters


Fauci’s research has been pivotal in understanding how HIV destroys the body’s immune system. He played a critical role in developing treatments that enable HIV-positive people to live long and active lives. 

George W. Bush awarded Fauci the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the highest honor given to a civilian — in 2008 because of his role in creating the PEPFAR program.

anthony fauci wins a medal

George W. Bush presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom on June 19, 2008 to Anthony Fauci during ceremonies at the White House in Washington, DC.

Karen Bleier/Getty


Fauci has also won the Presidential National Medal of Science and been given 45 honorary doctoral degrees from universities in the US and abroad.

He won the Robert Koch Gold Medallion, an international award for “accumulated excellence in biomedical research” in 2013.

President George H. W. Bush asked Fauci to be head of the NIH in 1989, but Fauci refused, saying that his work at NIAID was more important.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is pictured at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, U.S. November 22, 2016 in this still image from video.  REUTERS/Gershon Peaks/RVN

Anthony Fauci at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, November 22, 2016.

Gershon Peaks/RVN/Reuters


As a researcher, Fauci has been the author, co-author, or editor of more than 1,300 scientific publications.

Fauci was the 41st-most cited researcher of all time based on Google Scholar citations, according to a 2019 analysis.

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Anthony Fauci delivers remarks at the Economic Club of Washington, January 29, 2016.


Jonathan Ernst/REUTERS



He ranks eighth out of more than 2.2 million immunology authors in terms of his citation counts in the last 40 years. 

Fauci also worked on the response to the anthrax threat in the US following the September 11 attacks.

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Anthony Fauci during a news conference at the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, DC, January 28, 2020.


Amanda Voisard/Reuters



After 9/11, the US prepared for a potential biological attack as deadly anthrax packages flooded the offices of government workers and members of the media. Fauci kickstarted a NIAID research program to work on treatments and vaccines for infectious agents that could be used by bioterrorists. 

His expertise and experience were also critical during the Ebola outbreak between 2014 and 2016, and the Zika outbreak that started soon thereafter.

(L-R) Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Center for Disease Control Director Dr. Thomas Frieden and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases testify before the Senate Appropriations Committee on the U.S. government response to the Ebola outbreak in Washington November 12, 2014.   REUTERS/Gary Cameron

Anthony Fauci, right, testifies before the Senate Appropriations Committee on the US government response to Ebola on November 12, 2014.

Gary Cameron/Reuters


Fauci assisted with the creation of public policy around Ebola, and he worked to reassure Americans of their safety.

Ned Price, a top National Security Council aide under the Obama administration, tweeted Thursday: “During the Ebola outbreak, we couldn’t get enough of NIH’s Dr. Fauci because no one knew more or could deliver it with more authority or experience. Muzzling Dr. Fauci is an effort to muzzle fact and science when it’s needed most.”

Fauci told Smithsonian Magazine in 2016 that we’ve learned the same lesson during every infectious-disease outbreak: “You’ve got to be prepared. You have to have good surveillance. You have to have good diagnostics.”

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Anthony Fauci speaks to the media about the Zika virus in Washington, August 11, 2016.


Joshua Roberts/REUTERS



He added: “You have to be able to move quickly. And we’ve shown that when you do that, you get good results.”

Fauci has approached the new coronavirus outbreak in the same way.

Fauci’s work has saved the lives of millions of men, women, and children across the world, according to the American Academy of Achievement.

FILE PHOTO: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)  Director doctor Anthony Fauci speaks about the public health response to the outbreak of the coronavirus during a news conference at the Department of Health and Human Services  in Washington, U.S., January 28, 2020. REUTERS/Amanda Voisard./File Photo

Anthony Fauci speaks about the public-health response to the outbreak of the coronavirus during a news conference at the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington DC, January 28, 2020.

Amanda Voisard/Reuters


The Academy cited Fauci’s legacy of leadership in public health and research into HIV/AIDS therapies.

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