Dr. Anthony S. Fauci to discuss lingering COVID-19 challenges

Anthony S. Fauci, MD
Anthony S. Fauci, MD

Anthony S. Fauci, MD, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD, and a member of the White House COVID-19 Response Team, Washington, DC, will deliver the Martin Memorial Lecture on COVID-19: Lessons Learned and Remaining Challenges at this year’s virtual Clinical Congress. His presentation will begin Monday, October 25, at 8:30 am Central Time, following the Opening Ceremony.

Dr. Fauci has been a strong advocate for coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccinations for all eligible populations since they became publicly available earlier this year. In a White House press briefing in early October, he shared a three-point message on how vaccinations could accelerate the end of the pandemic.

“First, COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, convenient, and free. They protect you, your loved ones, and your community,” Dr. Fauci said, noting people who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are eight times more likely to test positive for the disease, 41 times more likely to be hospitalized because of a COVID-19 infection, and 57 times more likely to die from COVID-19 compared with people who are vaccinated.

“Booster shots provide further protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection and symptomatic COVID-19 disease for people at increased risk of severe COVID-19 disease,” he added.

The third prong of his message addressed pediatric patients 5 to 11 years old. At the end of September, Pfizer and BioNTech submitted phase 2 and phase 3 trial data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the use of their COVID-19 vaccine for this population.

“Vaccines for children aged 5 to 11, pending FDA authorization and CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] recommendation, may soon be available to help protect our children and those around them,” Dr. Fauci said.

He condensed his overall message to just two words: “Get vaccinated.”

During a recent drop in the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the U.S. following a surge attributed to the Delta variant of the disease, Dr. Fauci cautioned that the downward curve does not reduce the urgency for vaccinations.

“If you want to ensure that we get down to a very low level and that we don’t resurge again, we still have to get a very large proportion of those 70 million people who are eligible to be vaccinated who have not been vaccinated—we’ve got to get them vaccinated,” he said. “So, it’s good news that we’re starting to see a turning around of the curve and coming down. That is not an excuse to walk away from the issue of needing to get vaccinated.”

At NIAID, where he has been director since 1984, Dr. Fauci oversees a $6 billion research portfolio focused on infectious and immune-mediated diseases. As the long-time chief of the NIAID Laboratory of Immunoregulation, he has made many seminal contributions in basic and applied research and is one of the world’s most-cited biomedical scientists. He was one of the principal architects of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS [acquired immunodeficiency disease syndrome] Relief, a program that has saved millions of lives throughout the developing world.

Established in 1946 to honor American College of Surgeons founder Franklin H. Martin, MD, FACS, and his wife, Isabelle Hollister Martin, the Martin Memorial Lecture has been combined with the American Urological Association (AUA) Lecture, which was established in 1967, and has highlighted diverse topics in surgery. It is sponsored by the AUA and alternately nominated by the Advisory Council for Urology and the Board of Regents Honors Committee.

This lecture will be available to registered attendees for on-demand viewing for a full year following the Clinical Congress on the virtual meeting platform.