Anthony S. Fauci has been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984—contributing pioneering papers to the pathology of the HIV virus, ebola, malaria and zika.
Back in late January the Trump administration appointed the decorated immunologist to The White House Coronavirus Task Force.
The initiative’s primary objective is to contain the communal spread of COVID-19 while vaccinologists develop a short list of targeted antigens.
In the months since the SARS-Cov-2 virus penetrated the United States supportive therapeutics have been identified, tests have been supplied to a growing number of medical facilities and social distancing mandates have been imposed. Unfortunately, none of these countermeasures were enough to prevent a death toll that has already surpassed the 2,977 lost during the September 11th attacks.
Years spent on the frontlines of some of the most devastating epidemics in modern history has given Fauci a privileged insight into the interventions that can effectively suppress a disease’s growth curve.
This same insight is the reason Fauci is one of the many academicians who expressed concern about the destructive potential of a blackswan pandemic years before the first COVID-19 case appeared in Wuhan China.
“Influenza has not been treated with the degree of medical attention that the disease warrants. As such, there is not an adequate baseline of preparedness in the United States to deal with the potential of pandemic influenza. … There is an integral relationship between preparation for seasonal influenza and preparation for pandemic influenza. Until these approaches are firmly linked, the community will not have optimized its preparedness for a pandemic,” Fauci wrote in The Journal of Infectious Diseases back in 2006.
The coronavirus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic is a mutation, which is why our data set has been so limited. It infects host cells much more quickly than previously recorded strains and its incubation cycle is inconsistent. There’s a lot we won’t know about SARS-Cov-2 until cases and surveillance increases. However, Fauci has suggested (on more than one occasion) that there are precautions every nation should take to debilitate novel diseases before they reach the crisis phase.
Some of these are monetary precautions, like making sure researchers have enough funds to conduct relevant studies and develop immunogens while others revolve around academic austerity. Even when there isn’t a global crisis, the public and health systems alike should be kept up to date on immunization practices.
“The need for continued pandemic vigilance, basic and applied research, and pandemic preparedness planning that emphasizes prevention, containment, and treatment with antiviral medications and hospital-based intensive care,” Fauci said in reference to H1N1 influenza pandemic of 1918.”The 1918-1919 H1N1 influenza pandemic was among the most deadly events in recorded human history, killing an estimated 50-100 million persons. Because recent H5N1 avian epizootics have been associated with sporadic human fatalities, concern has been raised that a new pandemic, as fatal as the pandemic of 1918, or more so, could be developing.”
COVID-19 has been studied to disproportionately affect the elderly and populations with underlying immune deficiency conditions. With a clear understanding of the communities that are most at risk and why, researchers can devise key relief efforts.
Despite being one of the wealthiest countries in the world The US boasts some of the highest mortality rates. Poor dietary habits seem to be determinative of case severity as far as COVID-19 is concerned.
To mitigate the respiratory disease’s mortality rate researchers have to keep their eyes on the past and present to uncover all of the aggravating correlates.
Currently Fauci and The Coronavirus task force are exploring antibodies from patients that recovered from COVID-19.
In a recent study, a single 200 mL dose of convalescent plasma (CP) from COVID-19 patients shortened the duration of symptoms, improved oxygen levels and expedited viral clearance in patients who were still suffering from the disease.
“If their antibody test is positive, one can formulate strategies about whether or not they would be at risk or vulnerable to getting re-infected. This would be important for health care workers, for first-line fighters,” Fauci said in a media release.“Within a period of a week or so, we’re going to have a rather large number of tests that are available. It’s one of those things that we talk about when we want to make sure that we know who the vulnerable people are and not.”
With any luck the policy prescriptions employed by elected officials, caution exercised by civilians and the medicinal breakthroughs staffed by our leading physicians will be bolstered by previously published literature of similarly acting zoonotic infections.
On balance, coronaviruses that leap from animals to humans tend to achieve peak transmission between January and May. Even if this turns out to be the case for SARS-Cov-2, assuming the worst until we’re in the clear will prevent an aggressive rebound in the summer months.
“There’s a lot of people who need information. There are journalists, there are congressmen, there are governors, there are legislators that constantly need briefing,” Fauci said of the current health crisis.“We are in a war. I mean, I actually think this is exactly what generals or leaders in real, you know, violent combat wars feel.”
By: David M. Morens and Anthony S. Fauci
The Journal of Infectious Diseases, Vol. 195, No. 7 (Apr. 1, 2007), pp. 1018-1028
Oxford University Press
By: Anthony S. Fauci
The Journal of Infectious Diseases, Vol. 194, Supplement 2. Seasonal and Pandemic Influenza: At the Crossroads, a Global Opportunity (Nov. 1, 2006), pp. S73-S76
Oxford University Press