Dr. Fauci Reads an Undergrad’s Entire Thesis, Then Follows Up with an Encouraging Letter

Photo via the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases 

What are some qualities to look for in a leader?

  • A thirst for knowledge
  • A sense of duty
  • The scruples to give credit where credit is due
  • A calm, clear communication style
  • Humility

Dr. Anthony Fauci brings these qualities to bear as Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institute of Health.

They’re also on display in his message to then-undergrad Luke Messac, now an emergency medicine resident at Brown University, whose research focuses on the histories of health policy in southern Africa and the US, and who recently tweeted:

13 years ago, I emailed Dr. Fauci out of the blue to ask if I might interview him for my undergrad thesis. He invited me to his office, where he answered all my questions. When I sent him the thesis, HE READ THE WHOLE THING (see his overly effusive review below). Who does that?!

Here’s what Fauci had to say to the young scientist:

It certainly reads like the work of a class act.

In addition to serving as one of the COVID-19 pandemic’s most recognizable faces, Dr. Fauci has acquired another duty—that of scapegoat for Donald Trump, the 6th president he has answered to in his long career.

He seems to be taking the administration’s potshots with a characteristically cool head, though compared to the furious criticisms AIDS activists directed his way in the 80s and 90s, he’s unlikely to find much of educational value in them.

Last March, The Body Pro, a newsletter for workers on the front lines of HIV education, prevention, care, and services quoted ACT UP NY’s Jim Eigo on the doctor’s response to a letter demanding parallel tracking, a policy revision that would put potentially life-saving drugs in the hands of those who tested positive far earlier than the existing clinical trial requirements’ schedule would have allowed:

Lo and behold, he read the letter and liked it, and the following year he started promoting the idea of a parallel track for AIDS drugs to the FDA. Had he not helped us push that through, we couldn’t have gotten a lot of the cousin drugs to AZT, such as ddC and ddI, approved so fast. They were problematic drugs, but without them, we couldn’t have kept so many people alive. 

Fauci, despite being straight and Catholic, was not only not homophobic, which much of medical practice still was in the late 1980s, he also wouldn’t tolerate homophobia among his colleagues. He knew there was no place for that in a public-health crisis.

Speaking of correspondence, Dr Messac seems to have taken the “perpetual student” concept Dr. Fauci impressed upon him back in 2007 to heart, as evidenced by a recent tweet, regarding a lesson gleaned from Arnold Schwarzenegger in Pumping Iron, a 1977 documentary about bodybuilders:

Schwarzenegger explained how he would figure out what to work out every day by looking in a mirror and finding his weakest muscles. It’s pretty good advice for studying during residency. Every shift reveals a weakness, and greats never stop looking for their own.

In writing to Messac, Dr. Fauci alluded to his commencement speeches, so we thought it appropriate to leave you with one of his most recent ones, a virtual address to the graduating class of his alma mater, College of the Holy Cross:

“Now is the time, if ever there was one” he tells the Class of 2020, “to care selflessly about one another… Stay safe, and I look forward to the good work you will contribute in the years ahead.”

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine. Follow her @AyunHalliday.

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Comments (8)
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  • WW says:

    I was in Special Op’s for 20 years, and know a leader when I see one. This guy isn’t a “leader”, he’s a self-licking lollipop! Where are the Lincoln’s and Roosevelt’s, out there?

  • Beata says:

    Could you provide a couple of specific reasons you believe he is not a leader and a couple of traits you believe
    are needed in a leader at this time?

    In my observation, Dr. Fauci has routinely kept the public informed on recent developments and new knowledge about Covid; walked a difficult line between politics and science; and has in an acceptable way spoken truth to power

    You on the other hand have been vague and negative with no knowledge provided to back up your statements. In fact, it is a waste of time to read your comment. Work a little harder to learn. It can be really rewarding.

  • WW says:

    You’re projecting. People like you give Trump the same treatment you described, so get off your high-horse. Look it up yourself, “scholar”, the Internet is your friend. Fauci is trying to keep his 15-minutes of fame for as long as he can, by moving the COVID-goalposts almost daily. Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about.

  • gwr says:

    Well WW, there are certainly no “Lincolns and Roosevelts” (notice how I didn’t use apostrophes) in the White House right now. And please, dial down your own outrage — didn’t they teach you how to maintain a cool head in “Special Ops”. Jeesh, what some folks get triggered by!

  • Ray Collins says:

    When I was in high school and Fauci and his kooks told us all that by the 1990s 20 PERCENT of ALL Americans would be dead of AIDS, regardless of whether they practiced sodomy/copraphagia/IV drug use or not. When I saw him spouting off starting in February, I immediately knew the entire thing was cut from the same phony cloth.

  • Jeri says:

    Dr. Fauci is truly a class act, a leader of the highest caliber. He continually seeks knowledge and derives insight from every experience. He has steadfastly fought for better healthcare and makes it his number one mission to do his best to provide health information to the American people. He has a strong sense of duty, even when politics makes it very difficult for him to do his job. He’s humble, he treats others with respect and fairness, and he’s a fighter. These are the marks of a true leader.

  • Michael Geiger says:

    Many years ago, somewhere about 2006, I had read that Tony Fauci’s own Masters Thesis was a report of the negative effects of stress on the immune system. As Fauci contributed greatly to the worldwide coronavirus panic, and the stress created by it, it is obvious that he has forgotten that thesis. But then again, he forgot about it a very long time ago. By the time Fauci reached 43 years of age, and as nothing more than a somewhat failed MD doctor (not schooled in science), Fauci became the head of NIAID in 1984 (just after Robert Gallo claimed on the White House steps that he found the cause of AIDS), Fauci then seemed to have completely forgotten every aspect of his own thesis on stress negatively impacting the immune system. At the time, gays, hemophilliacs, and IV drug users became the central target of the quite non-specific and “presumed to be” HIV antibody tests. If registering a positive on those quite faulty and non-specific tests, people were put into a complete and total state of unending trauma and intense stress, as they were told their HIV positive diagnosis was a death warrant.

    About this time, Tony Fauci also became the leading proponent of AZT monotherapy, a failed cancer drug that stops cells from dividing. The years of AZT monotherapy, from 1985 to 1995, resulted in about 350,000 Americans, men, women, and children, who directly died from the intense stress of diagnosis combined with Fauci’s AZT therapy, generally dying in 8 months to 1.5 years. Very few who had regularly taken the drug survived more than 2 years to tell of it. In 1995, the French Concord study proved the deadliness of the drug, forcing Fauci and friends to reduce the dose by 95 percent, or to give the diagnosed less toxic drugs. Since AZT ended, doctors reduced the stress by telling HIV positives they could live longer, and so they did, although “buffalo hump lypodistrophy , liver failure, kidney failure, heart failure, and cancer became the leading effects of Fauci’s new generations of drug therapies. Since 1995, liver and kidney failure have been the leading cause of deaths of supposed HIV positives.

    In 1984, Fauci promised a vaccine for the so-called HIV pandemic that he claimed we would all die from. Now, almost 40 years later, and Fauci having spent several tens of billions on creating a vaccine, has resulted in nothing. Zero, zip, nada, nothing. Not surprising as the RNA believed to be from HIV was obviously an error in belief.

    In about 2009, AP reporters found Fauci taking conflict of interest monies along with his regular government pay. One year later, Fauci’s wife was made “Head of Ethics” at the NIH, which means anyone wanting to investigate Fauci’s future conflicts of interest would have to go through his wife. By the way, it is not illegal for Fauci to own stocks in the companies whose drugs he promotes. And he has been a great promoter of all drugs by Gilead Pharmaceuticals, especially Gileads HIV drugs (Gilead holds 95% of the HIV drug market), Tamiflu that supposedly reduces flu by one day (good luck proving or disproving that), and the latest drug for Covid 19, Gilead’s Remdesivir, pronounced by Fauci to be Standard Of Care in the US after a very short 2 week drug trial.

    During George Bush (whose own family also owns great amounts of Gilead Stock, Fauci promoted Gilead’s Tamiflu during the so called “Bird Flu” pandemic. Fauci stood before congress beside Gilead’s CEO, and convinced congress to stockpile the drug, and replace the stockpile every 3 years due to its expiration date. Though, I don’t know if that is as mentionable as noting that Donald Rumsfeld, Bush’s Sec. of Defence, was Gilead Pharmaceuticals CEO until the day he joined the Bush cabinet. George Schultz, Sec. of State for Reagan, and dear friend of the Busch family, sat for many years as a director on the board of Gilead Pharma.

    So here we are again with Coronavirus. Fauci makes Remdesivir standard of care. Claims again he will have another RNA vaccine in short order. And 10 years from now, and I promise you. No vaccine will come. Claims will be made that the CV-19 virus morphs and changes, excuses and imaginary reasons will be claimed to hamper it, and the world will still be facing the belief that Coronavirus will kill us all unless we throw more billions to NIAID and the pharma industry eternally.

    Either Fauci and the NIH learned a lot from HIV on how to manipulate funding, or perhaps they learned absolutely nothing, and remain as ignorant today as they were 39 years ago when they put Fauci, a simple (minded) MD, as talking head of Niaid and the pharma industry….

    Good luck to us all, as we humans have ever stumbled from not knowing truth from falsehood, from following leaders who lacked integrity, and from believing whatever those in high office would tell us. Millions upon millions in human history have died from following such, and perhaps we always will.

  • Michael Geiger says:

    After your consideration of the above, I would also like to add just a couple of things.

    The commonly heard phrase, “Scared to death”, was coined by us humans many eons ago, and the phrase has stuck with humanity for one simple reason. The reason being because becoming “scared to death” is a simple truth. And it has been as long as mankind has existed.

    Many a human being has been “scared to death” since as long as human beings can remember. Witch doctors count on it, as they point a bone and pass a sentence of death on a disgraced tribal member. And the believers in the witch doctors pronouncement then soon perish from either “accident” or illness. It would seem that what is held in mind has a tendency to manifest in reality. The belief in one’s fear obviously creates intense and ongoing stress. Stress is well known to cause immune system failure since forever. And those given death sentences by diagnosis of fatal disease by a trusted doctor are well known to fair very poorly.

    With CV19, it seems we have taken our most vulnerable, the aged among us, and put the scare of inevitable death by coronavirus into them . Such a belief, quite simply, puts a patient into a state of ongoing apathetic helplessness and hopelessness, at which point their own immune system simply fails to function. Such is the power of the belief in inevitable death.

    Sadly, our medical system and doctors are not schooled at all in this (ancient) knowledge. Our doctors are simply not schooled in patient stress as the leading contributor to outcome, let alone of stress as a cause of immune dysfunction and the subsequent failure of patients to overcome an illness.

    Neither is our culture yet schooled in this factor. And so, our medical system, and we ourselves, often continue to scare not only ourselves to death, but also our loved ones or our most vulnerable patients to death. And most all of our news media appears to thrive upon inducing ever more panic and terror and stress as a way to keep their followers “tuned in”.

    Before becoming diagnosed, our aged patients, following the news media and their healthcare providers panic, then followed right along. Believing in their own inevitable death by CV19, the aged and vulnerable have died in droves, fully stressed, panicked, terrified, and quite simply, “Scared To Death”.

    After diagnosing their aged patients as CV19, our doctors are not in the least re-assuring to an aged patient, as the doctor and his assistants have also bought into the panic and terror filled beliefs of inevitable death of their aged patients.

    With CV19, as they early on did with their HIV diagnosed patients, doctors and healthcare assistants treated all CV19 patients from fully enclosed and hooded suits, sending a clear message of hopelessness and helplessness and stress to their patients. The message to patients was clear: You are going to die. They usually even refused patients a visit or even a phone call from their loved ones.

    As such, the panic of terror and paranoia resulting from belief in inevitable death by CV19, or in anything else, may be mankind’s greatest threat.

    A quite deadly “meme” of a virus, that passes a belief of helpless hopelessness to the diagnosed, resulting in vulnerable patients becoming quite literally Scared To Death.

    As such, it likely will continue to take a great toll upon us and our loved ones until we humans rise above the fear and panic and paranoia, or until we regain awareness of how we ourselves play the most meaningful part in sustaining our own health and well being, and become cognizant of our own effects on others should we pass them beliefs and messages of hopeless helpless apathy to others.

    In just the last 10 years, since HIV/AIDS quieted down, Fauci’s department of Niaid, in hand with the CDC and WHO, has released one terror filled panic scare after another of terror filled panicked pronouncements of another pandemic.

    Bird flu(2009), Swine Flu, SARS, MERS, TIKA, H1N1, Ebola, and now, CV19 in 10 short years. Each time, they have been rewarded by congress with millions to billions added to their annual budget. Fauci’s NIAID funding has increased in just 10 short years from 1.59 Billion to 5.6 Billion. Many a researcher and pharma company pig eat well from that ever growing feed trough. But many a human being will be fully scared to death by future pronouncements of panic and terror just to continue the funding Niaid and the bio-pharma budgets along the way….

    Yet, oddly enough, our annual deaths have only risen beside our increase of population. 2,700,000 American’s die yearly of all causes of death. And iatrogenic deaths (meaning doctor or medical system caused deaths) have remained the 3rd leading cause of death in the US, of just us Americans, year after year.

    Perhaps the above message should be the message we demand from those running our medical and research community, instead of the current Fauci and company message of “You are all gonna die from the invisible boogeyman, but give us more money, and we will create a magic drug and vaccine to save you”.

    Save me from what? Scaring myself to death? Thanks, but I can do that on my own, and it does not cost me or taxpayers even a dime….

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