Fauci to receive $1 million prize for 'speaking truth to power' during coronavirus pandemic

The longtime NIAID director is being awarded the prize by an Israeli committee for his ongoing defense of science

Updated: February 16, 2021 - 11:25am

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been awarded a top international prize for his leadership role during throughout the global coronavirus pandemic.

The Dan David Prize, which includes a $1 million cash prize, was awarded to Fauci for his defense of science and advocacy for the distribution and use of the coronavirus vaccine around the globe.

Fauci, considered the country's top infectious disease expert, was a member of the Trump administration's coronavirus task force and is an adviser to the Biden administration on the pandemic. He frequently disagreed with Trump on virus issues, including on the efficacy on experimental drugs. 

Fauci has also reversed on some guidance including saying early in the pandemic not to wear mask, for fear of taking them from front-line health workers.

The foundation affiliated with the award, a private Israeli institution, also commended Fauci's for his longtime leadership in the field of HIV and AIDS research and relief.

In a statement, the institute said that Fauci deserves praise for "courageously defending science in the face of uninformed opposition during the challenging COVID crisis." 

The committee also the scientist, who has served in the past seven presidential administrations, worked "relentlessly to inform individuals in the United States and elsewhere about the public health measures essential for containing the pandemic’s spread."

The committee also wrote that Fauci's conduct over the past year has required a certain amount of "speaking truth to power in a highly charged political environment." 

Fauci will receive the prize on May 9 in a virtual ceremony.