In response to attacks on Dr. Anthony Fauci’s credibility and character, BIO President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath issued the following statement:
“As this global pandemic continues to wreak havoc, we must stand behind the scientists and researchers working tirelessly to eradicate this devastating disease. Nothing is more disheartening or disturbing than to see Dr. Anthony Fauci, a critical leader at a pivotal moment, maligned publicly and attacked personally. Dr. Fauci is a decent man, a brilliant scientist, and dedicated public servant. He has committed his life to advancing the power of science and promoting public health. We have benefited from his medical and scientific guidance for over 30 years, ever since his appointment by President Reagan. He has guided the world through HIV, Ebola, and SARS. We need his firsthand historical and scientific knowledge now more than ever. He does not deserve these attacks, which in the long run only undermine our response to this pandemic, and, in doing so, put more patients at risk.
“We are facing a novel Coronavirus. So we are, by definition, learning as we go. And scientists, also by definition, must adapt as new information emerges. They use their expertise and experience to evaluate new data as it comes and then alter their advice to account for this new knowledge. Science is a process and it is a sign of our scientific success that we know more about COVID today than we did yesterday. Scientists fail when they don’t change in the face of new data, rather than when they do. Can you imagine a world in which scientists didn’t change course as new understanding emerged? In my lifetime alone, the biotech industry has been able to triple the life expectancy of patients with cystic fibrosis, come close to ending the scourge of sickle cell anemia, and turn HIV into a chronic disease by listening to new information.
“But this is, sadly, not just about Dr. Fauci. We at BIO, represent over 1,000 biotech companies with literally tens of thousands of scientists working at breakneck speed to bring the world a solution to the current crisis. They have been working around the clock to start over 600 anti-COVID drug, vaccine, antibody therapy, and anti-viral projects in just 24 weeks. What does it do to the morale of those armies of scientists to see our leaders disrespect one of the world’s most respected scientists? It discourages and distracts them from the critically important task at hand. And it erodes the public trust in the cures we are getting closer to everyday. Some of these solutions of tomorrow will only work if we adopt them quickly and uniformly. Anything that slows public understanding of science will, needlessly, cost more lives.
“This is not a partisan issue, as we’ve seen leaders from across the political spectrum commend Dr. Fauci for his leadership and condemn these attacks. In order to further our shared goal of ending this pandemic, we must attack the disease and the misinformation in the public discourse and stop attacking science. Now, more than ever, we need sound science, not rhetoric. We need unity to crack the code of COVID, not division.”