Anthony Fauci, 2020 International Prize

An internationally renowned expert in infectious diseases, Anthony Fauci plays a key role in informing the general public on COVID-19, and in terms of strategies and advice on how to best contain the pandemic. It is in recognition of this role that Inserm has awarded him its International Prize.

Anthony Fauci © NIAID
Anthony Fauci © NIAID

Anthony Fauci was already a "celebrity" in the infectious disease domain well before the COVID-19 crisis. An "incorrigible workaholic" as he says so himself, the 80-year-old immunologist who has "run several marathons" and "walks between 5 and 8 km a day", has been at the helm of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in Bethesda for the past… 36 years! HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, Ebola, Zika…: he and the NIAID have fought them all. Yet it was only last March that most of the general public first discovered this frail-looking, gray-haired man with mischievous eyes shining out from behind wire-rimmed glasses, who would stand next to President Trump during his daily televised updates on the epidemic. A president who has called on him for advice and to inform the population about this novel virus.

Reliability matters

Engaging and keen to give reliable information, the researcher has been ceaseless in reiterating the danger of COVID-19, calling it his "worst nightmare" and warning that "Europe and the US will be in for a very difficult winter…". Aware of the "extraordinary progress" already made by research, the US immunologist remains optimistic: "We’ll certainly have a safe and effective vaccine by early 2021."

To the researchers at Inserm – "an institute which has historically made major contributions to resolving practically all global health crises" –, he sends his encouragements: "It’s important to continue to work effectively and to do for COVID-19 what Inserm has so successfully done for many other diseases. Because everybody’s health is counting on it."