A Living History of AIDS Vaccine Research

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Anthony Fauci has been at the forefront of AIDS vaccine research for decades. When AIDS surfaced in 1981, he, like many other scientists and physicians, was drawn to the mysterious illness, which has now claimed more than 25 million lives—more than the populations of Ghana or Taiwan. Since 1984, he has served as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). He has been a key advisor to US presidents on global AIDS issues and was a leading architect of the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Born on Christmas Eve, 1940, and raised above a pharmacy in Brooklyn, New York, he earned a medical degree from Cornell Medical College. Fauci, a marathoner, avid fisherman, and father of three, has invited AIDS activists into his home. Last year, he presided over a US$4.4 billion budget—roughly a third of it dedicated to HIV/AIDS research.

He ranks among the top 10 most cited HIV/AIDS researchers in the world and has received numerous awards, including the Presidential Medal of Honor for leading the fight against HIV/AIDS and the Lasker Award for Public Service. "I don’t see myself as a politician, I see myself as an honest broker of science. That’s the reason I think I’ve been able to be effective," Fauci said during a January 2009 interview with IAVI Report Managing Editor Kristen Jill Kresge and Science Writer Regina McEnery, which served as the basis for this first installment in the Living History series and features Fauci in his own words.

Additional chapters, each featuring a recounting of historic milestones in the search for a vaccine by some of the most prominent players in the field, will appear in upcoming issues.

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