TEL AVIV — Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the U.S. National Institutes of Health — and the public face of Covid-19 policy in the United States who at times found himself at odds with ex-President Donald J. Trump — has won a 2021 Dan David Prize of $1 million.
The Israeli late businessman and philanthropist Dan David established the international prize in 2001 at Tel Aviv University. Every year, three prizes of $1 million each are awarded to globally inspiring individuals and organizations. Laureates donate 10 percent of the money to scholarships for researchers in their respective fields at the university.
“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. International review committees selected this year’s laureates for their pioneering work and their exceptional contributions to humanity in these fields in three time dimensions: past, present and future.”
Fauci was chosen as the winner of the “present” category of public health.
“Today, Dr. Fauci is the most influential public health leader in the U.S. and is widely respected throughout the world for his efforts against the coronavirus,” said Porat.
“As NIAID director he has led research efforts on the development of diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines for Covid-19. He is the voice of reason for randomized, controlled trials for evaluating antiviral drugs and other therapeutics. These efforts have led to useful therapeutics that have markedly reduced death rates for hospitalized Covid-19 patients.”
In the United States, however, Fauci has many critics, not only for his handling of Covid-19 response and messaging, particularly on mask use, but for his management of the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s.
Other 2021 laureates to be honored in an online ceremony in May are health and medical historians Prof. Alison Bashford, Prof. Katharine Park and Prof. Keith Wailoo (in the “past” category of the history of health and medicine) and anti-cancer immunotherapy pioneers Prof. Zelig Eshhar, Prof. Carl June and Dr. Steven Rosenberg in the “future” category of molecular medicine.
The Dan David Prize was launched in 2002; notable past laureates include cellist Yo-Yo Ma (2006); former U.S. Vice President Al Gore (2008); novelist Margaret Atwood (2010); and filmmakers Ethan and Joel Coen (2011).
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(Edited by Matthew B. Hall and David Martosko)
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