Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US’s leading infectious disease expert, said Friday he immediately accepted President-elect Joe Biden’s offer to serve as his chief medical advisor.
“Absolutely. I said ‘yes’ right on the spot,” Fauci said during an interview with news broadcasting, Today morning news program.
In making the offer, Biden said Fauci will continue on in his role at the National Institutes of Health while also performing his new responsibilities in the incoming administration.
Fauci has served as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, working under six presidents.
Fauci spoke with Biden and members of his transition team Thursday afternoon, according to news broadcasting network, which aired the interview with Biden in which he announced he made the offer. The top health official had initial talks with Biden’s aides, including Ron Klain, his pick for White House chief of staff.
In January, he was picked as a member of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force that was formed to combat the spread of the virus.
Fauci and Trump have been at odds over the response against the disease, with the former repeatedly urging Americans to stay at home and wear a face covering.
The news came as the country continues to report more cases and hospitalizations while two vaccine candidates are pending approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization.
US biotech firm Moderna plans to make 20 million doses available by the end of the year, and it wants to manufacture 500 million to 1 billion doses globally in 2021.
The Trump administration ordered 100 million doses from American pharmaceutical firm Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech, as part of its Operation Warp Speed to get the COVID-19 vaccine to Americans.