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White House chief medical advisor Fauci to step down in December after more than 50 years of service

Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks about the Omicron coronavirus variant during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, December 1, 2021.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

The nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, plans to step down from his roles running the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and advising the White House as its chief medical advisor at the end of the year, he announced Monday.

Fauci has become a household fixture during the Covid-19 pandemic, battling back misinformation, sometimes from the highest levels of government. His steadfast commitment to science, challenging former President Donald Trump on everything from the use of hydroxychloroquine to mask mandates, made him a quasi-celebrity in the process.

The 81-year-old has advised seven U.S. presidents, starting with Ronald Reagan through the HIV/AIDS epidemic, West Nile virus, the anthrax attacks, pandemic influenza, various bird influenza threats, Ebola, Zika and, most recently, Covid and monkeypox.

Fauci, who also runs the NIAID Laboratory of Immunoregulation, said has no intentions of retiring.

“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 said in a statement. “I want to use what I have learned as NIAID Director to continue to advance science and public health and to inspire and mentor the next generation of scientific leaders as they help prepare the world to face future infectious disease threats.”

He first joined the National Institutes of Health in 1968 at age 27.

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