Dr. Rod Russell interviews Dr. Anthony Fauci
Dr. Rod Russell of the Division of BioMedical Sciences interviewed Dr. Anthony Fauci of the U.S. National Institutes of Health about his career in virology and immunology, including his work on COVID-19 and HIV/AIDS.
Dr. Fauci, director of the NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and Chief Medical Advisor to President Joe Biden, discussed vaccine literacy due to the COVID-19 pandemic and his decades of work on HIV/AIDS research in the interview, which was published Nov. 14, 2022 in Viral Immunology. In addition to his role as professor of virology and immunology at Memorial's Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Russell is the editor-in-chief of Viral Immunology and president of the Canadian Society for Virology.
During the interview, Dr. Fauci discussed the challenge of the short durability of protection from prior infection or vaccination seen with COVID-19, which is unusual compared to other contagious viruses like polio or measles.
"We have great vaccines. I mean, some of the great scientific breakthroughs of the last few years have been the mRNA vaccine and immunogen design based on structure-based vaccine design," he said. "But even with that advance, we do need better vaccine platforms and immunogens to lead to greater durability and breadth of protection."
Dr. Russell also asked Dr. Fauci about his work as an HIV/AIDS researcher, which began when AIDS was first recognized in 1981. Dr. Fauci discussed both the successes seen since then in treating HIV/AIDS and extending lifespans for patients, and the remaining challenges in finding a cure or HIV vaccine.
"What we have done now over the last few years is to make the therapeutic approach much easier and user friendly, such as with long-acting injectable drugs, which can be given every couple of months. I believe as we get better at it over the coming months and years, it may be that you can give an injectable drug maybe twice a year and continue to suppress the virus below detectable level," Dr. Fauci said. "That is not a classical cure in the sense of eradication, which we will continue to try to do, but the advances that have been made in therapy now are really quite breathtaking in their success."
A video of the full interview between Drs. Russell and Fauci is available at the Viral Immunology website, along with a transcript of the conversation.