MONDAY, Aug. 22, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Anthony Fauci, M.D., who has advised seven presidents and spent more than five decades at the U.S. National Institutes of Health, will step down in December to “pursue the next chapter” of his career, he announced Monday.

Fauci, 81, currently serves as the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and is chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden.

“While I am moving on from my current positions, I am not retiring. After more than 50 years of government service, I plan to pursue the next phase of my career while I still have so much energy and passion for my field,” Fauci said in a statement posted on the NIAID website. “I want to use what I have learned as NIAID director to continue to advance science and public health and to inspire and mentor the next generation of scientific leaders as they help prepare the world to face future infectious disease threats.”

Fauci joined the NIH in 1968 and rose to prominence within the agency during the 1980s AIDS crisis. As an HIV/AIDS researcher, Fauci conducted pivotal studies that formed the basis of medicine’s current understanding of the disease and continue to inform the therapies used to treat and prevent AIDS.

Fauci became NIAID director in 1984, and has advised every U.S. president on infectious disease emergencies from Ronald Reagan onward.

In his statement, Fauci pledged to “continue to put my full effort, passion, and commitment into my current responsibilities, as well as help prepare the Institute for a leadership transition” in the coming months. “NIH is served by some of the most talented scientists in the world, and I have no doubt that I am leaving this work in very capable hands,” he added.

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