Amid a growing consensus that COVID-19 likely emerged from a Chinese lab and past revelations that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) funded coronavirus research in one such lab, the former head of the agency, Anthony Fauci, has landed a professorship at Georgetown University.
Fauci, who was pulling a salary of over $400,000 a year while working for the federal government, told Georgetown that while he "could do more experiments in the lab and have my lab going," he felt that he would be better suited to serve as an "inspiration to the younger generation of students." It is unclear if Georgetown will be matching the compensation Fauci enjoyed as a public servant.
The former NIAID director’s career prospects do not appear to have been hampered by mistakes made during his advisory role throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Fauci initially denied the possibility that the virus could have originated from a laboratory. All U.S. intelligence agencies see the lab leak as a possibility and a high profile report from the Department of Energy considers it the most likely explanation. Fauci is now open to the possibility of a lab-leak origin but won’t take a definitive stance.
If the virus did originate in a lab, that could reflect poorly on Fauci and the federal government. While Fauci was heading the agency, NIAID funneled $653,392 to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the lab believed to be the origin of COVID-19, for coronavirus research.
In addition to his relationship to the origin of the virus, Fauci’s pandemic-era policy recommendations have also come under scrutiny.
Government lockdowns of public places during the pandemic, which Fauci supported at the time and has since tried to distance himself from, have been shown to have severe economic and educational impacts.
Fauci’s stint at Georgetown begins July 1. He will be taking on positions in both the school of medicine and the school of public policy.