Portrait: Anthony Fauci
Reducing risk. HHS's contract with Acambis and Baxter International to produce 155 million fresh doses by the end of next year is designed to fill that gap. But Fauci is most excited about research underway to develop a completely new smallpox vaccine. Rather than employ the live vaccinia virus, as the classic vaccine does, the new vaccines would be based either on a weakened vaccinia virus or on just harmless chunks of the virus--the same technique used to make hepatitis vaccines. Those vaccines would be much less risky to people with HIV, organ transplants, and other conditions that weaken the immune system and would make it safe enough to vaccinate the entire population. Fauci says the new vaccines are probably three years away. "So pretty soon we're going to have smallpox wrapped up."
In Washington, life is starting to get back to normal. Fauci's almost back to his regular schedule of 14-hour days and has resumed picking up his three daughters, ages 15, 12, and 9, after diving or gymnastics practice. "We actually, amazingly, have dinner together every night, but it's usually around 9 o'clock," says Christine Grady. The strains of the past few months seem to have left few scars. Fauci, who just turned 61, looks easily 15 years younger, whippet-thin and energetic. Maybe, as Grady says, it's just good genes, or maybe, as his longtime colleague Lane says, it's that "he's so impassioned about what he does."
Those passions may soon be tested anew. In 1989, Fauci was twice offered the job of NIH director by George H. W. Bush and twice turned it down. The job is again vacant, and Fauci's name is at the top of most lists. He smiles when asked about that. "I like what I'm doing now."
"People really need to know the truth, and they need to know what you don't know."
BORN Dec. 24, 1940; Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
FAMILY Married to bioethicist Christine Grady; three daughters
EDUCATION B.A., College of the Holy Cross, 1962; M.D., Cornell University Medical College, 1966