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US Covid czar Fauci wins $1mn Israeli prize for ‘courageous leadership’ in public health, ‘defending science’

US Covid czar Fauci wins $1mn Israeli prize for ‘courageous leadership’ in public health, ‘defending science’
US infectious disease chief Dr. Anthony Fauci has received the lucrative Dan David Prize for his work during the coronavirus pandemic, including for advocating the role of science in the face of public criticism.

Fauci, who has been director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) since 1984, is the most famous of this year’s crop of winners. The board for the annual prize chooses leaders in their field, across the categories of past, present and future, who each win $1 million – 10 percent of which they give to postgraduate students in their fields.

Winner of the ‘present’ prize, Fauci has demonstrated “courageous leadership” during the pandemic, according to Professor Elizabeth Miller of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, who explained his selection.

Miller praised Fauci for “vigorously defending science in the face of uninformed criticism” and for his research into mRNA vaccines against the virus, such as the jab developed by Pfizer-BioNTech. His work in tackling HIV and AIDS were also cited among the reasons for his selection.

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Fauci’s handling of the Covid-19 outbreak has at times put him on a collision course with senior US officials, including former US President Donald Trump. He has also drawn criticism over his changing advice on issues such as wearing masks or the percentage of Americans necessary to be vaccinated to reach herd immunity.

The Dan David Prize is headquartered at Israel’s Tel Aviv University, and its prizes are awarded by its board of international experts, which includes former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

Other winners of the 2021 prize include historians Alison Bashford of the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Katharine Park of Harvard University and Keith Wailoo of Princeton University, who share one of the $1 million prizes. The other winners include Zelig Eshhar of Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science, Carl June of the University of Pennsylvania and Steven Rosenberg of the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health.

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