Dr. Anthony Fauci, the face of the U.S Covid-19 response, has been honored with Israel’s prestigious Dan David prize for advocating Covid-19 vaccines and for “courageously defending science in face of uniform opposition”.
Dr. Fauci was also recognized for his exceptional contribution to research on infectious diseases, particularly his leadership on HIV research and Aids relief.
“Dr. Fauci has been a global leader in control and research of infectious diseases that present a major public health challenge,” Dr. Elizabeth Miller, the chair of the selection committee, said in the award announcement.
The Dan David Prize was established in 2000 by the late international businessman Dan David. It gives $1m awards in three categories each year for contributions addressing the past, present, and future.
Due to the outstanding challenge posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the international review committee decided to honor the fields of health and medicine for this year’s award.
“The coronavirus pandemic has presented humanity with new challenges,” said Prof. Ariel Porat, president of the university and chairperson of the Dan David Prize Board. “Therefore, this year, we decided to honor the fields at the forefront of the battle against the virus — health and medicine.”
Fauci was chosen as the winner of the “present” category of public health.
Dr. Fauci has been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984. He has served under seven U.S administrations, most notably helping to found George W. Bush’s US government Aids initiative in Africa. Fauci now serves as explainer-in-chief to the public amid the Covid-19 outbreak.
Dr. Fauci was often found at odds with Donald Trump on coronavirus response and has continued to serve into the Biden era.
At a press briefing on Wednesday, Fauci cited data from Israel’s vaccination campaign as proof of the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines while also praising the highly efficient vaccination drive.
“When you look at the [number of] vaccinations per 100 people… Israel is way up there with 78 doses per 100 people, compared to the United States, which has 16.7 doses per 100 people. So we have been hearing and seeing in the press that Israel has a remarkable diminution in cases associated with the efficiency of their vaccine,” Fauci told the media via video conference.