Who is Dr. Anthony Fauci?

Dr. Anthony Fauci is head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and a member of the Coronavirus Task Force formed by President Trump in late January.

His extensive background in treating infectious diseases led to him being appointed to the task force, which is charged with leading the U.S. government's response to the novel 2019 coronavirus -- also known as COVID-19 -- and keeping Trump aware of new developments.

Fauci, 79, is leading the administration’s efforts to monitor, contain and mitigate the spread of the virus while making sure the American people have up-to-date health and travel information, according to the White House.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a Coronavirus Task Force news briefing in the White House in Washington, March, 10, 2020. (Associated Press)

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a Coronavirus Task Force news briefing in the White House in Washington, March, 10, 2020. (Associated Press)

His credibility within the medical community has prompted U.S. senators to request that he become the face of the federal government's response to the coronavirus, The Hill reported March 10.

“That was suggested because he has credibility,” one senator said, according to the news outlet. “He speaks with authority. He has respect in the medical community. That’s what the suggestion was because this is a medical thing. It’s not a political crisis — though we can make one out of it.”

As the coronavirus continued to spread, Fauci testified regularly to Congress about the emerging threat. He's highly respected and even received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the highest honor given to a civilian by the President of the United States.

Fauci appeared at a White House news briefing March 10 to provide an update on the virus and relay suggestions to the American people.

At the briefing, he warned about attending large-scale gatherings in the U.S., as cases reached 1,000 and the virus was reported in all but 12 states.

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"We would like the country to realize that as a nation, we can't be doing the kinds of things we were doing a few months ago," Fauci said.

He also referenced recent guidelines made by the White House -- advising people to clean their hands regularly and avoid handshakes, while making habits like covering coughs and sneezes and refraining from touching your face.

As head of the NIAID since 1984, Fauci has advised six former presidents on the threat of HIV/AIDS and played a central role in the research of disease outbreaks.

He's made numerous contributions to research and his portfolio at the agency includes the treatment of various immune-mediated and infectious diseases, including respiratory infections, diarrheal diseases, tuberculosis, and malaria as well as emerging diseases such as Ebola and Zika.

He's helped to influence decisions on where research should be directed while overseeing an agency with a budget of $5.9 billion this year.

"Dr. Fauci has made seminal contributions to the understanding of how HIV destroys the body's defenses leading to its susceptibility to deadly infections," according to the NIAID. "He has been instrumental in developing treatments that enable people with HIV to live long and active lives."

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Fauci ranked as the 41st most highly cited researcher of all time, according to a 2019 analysis of Google Scholar citations.

He ranked eighth out of more than 2.2 million authors in the field of immunology by total citation count between 1980 and January 2019, per the Web of Science.

He's considered a pioneer in the field of immunoregulation, with his observations serving as the basis for the current understanding of the regulation of the human immune response, according to the Pan American Health Organization.

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Fauci grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., and received his M.D. degree from Cornell University Medical College in 1966.