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The COVID-19 Pandemic is still around and with another variant on the horizon, cases of Monkeypox are rising across the country. There are so many questions to be answered so today on the Russ Parr show, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases gives us some vital updates on both infectious diseases.
Dr. Fauci, who recently had a battle with COVID-19 himself gives us an update on his health and his upcoming retirement.
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RUSS PARR: I’m on the line right now we have Dr. Fauci. Yes, he’s the best. I’m not only a fan, but I’m a guy that listens to everything. He says, of course, he’s the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the chief medical adviser to the President. Dr. Fauci, how are you this morning?
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI: I’m very well, thank you. How are you?
RUSS: Oh, I’m hanging in there. I know that you’ve had a little battle with COVID. But I guess you’re 100%.
DR. FAUCI: Yeah, thank goodness, I think I’m a testimony to why it’s so important to get fully vaccinated and boosted because given my age, I would have imagined that I would have been in a risk category to have gone on to progress, progress, and really get advanced disease, which I had a really quite relatively mild case. So I’m very thankful for that.
RUSS: Now, we know the President has been diagnosed with having COVID. And they gave him a medication. What was that medication was I forgot how to pronounce it.
DR. FAUCI: PAXLOVID.
RUSS: Yes, Is that available?
DR. FAUCI: That’s widely available. I was also on PAXLOVID and I took that. It’s a five day drug, you take three pills twice a day for five days. And the track record of PAXLOVID is that it is very effective in preventing the progression to severe disease leading to hospitalization.
RUSS: There’s very few people that have your expertise in infectious diseases, and of course, your your work with HIV and things like that is just nobody surpass that kind of work. And I know you’re a modest guy, but I’ll say that. Monkeypox is the big talk. And, you know, you’ve been doing this what, 60 some odd year?
DR. FAUCI: 54 years
RUSS: I was close, I was off six years.
DR. FAUCI: You’re Close, You’re Close
RUSS: Have you ever encountered Monkeypox before? Have you dealt with that before?
DR. FAUCI: You know, Monkeypox is fundamentally a disease that was endemic for a bit following the discontinuation of the smallpox. Vaccination of smallpox and monkeypox are similar in this kind of virus it is obviously Smallpox is a much, much more severe disease is Monkeypox. But the time when the world was being vaccinated for smallpox, it had the secondary collateral positive effect of protecting populations against Monkeypox. But when we eradicated smallpox, they discontinued the vaccinations around 1977-1980. The Smallpox and Monkeypox arises in animals and then spreads to human. It doesn’t spread, under most circumstances very effectively, in the sense of human to human, it’s mostly animal. But right now, if it gets, essentially into a population, in which, for example, for sexual networks are what have you that any close skin-to-skin contact, can lead to the spread of this disease. And right now, we’re having a very difficult situation, not only in this country, but literally, throughout the world, where you have an outbreak in more than 80 separate countries of Monkeypox, where you have almost 3500 confirmed cases in the United States, you have close to 19,000 confirmed cases, in 82 nonendemic countries and by nonendemic countries, I mean, countries other than where it is essentially, there and has been there for a while generally going from animals to humans, and that’s in central and west Africa. Now, you’re in countries throughout Europe and throughout the world. So it’s something we really need to take seriously. It’s predominantly in the nonendemic countries, among men who have sex with men, like 99% of the cases are in that demographic group.
RUSS: Now, let me ask you, once you if you get Monkeypox, it is treatable, correct?
DR. FAUCI: Oh, yeah, we did the difference for example, I often get asked, you know, back in the early days in the very early 1980s, when we first were dealing with what turned out to be HIV, even though we didn’t know is HIV at the time. We didn’t have an etiologic agent. We didn’t have a diagnostic test. We didn’t have therapy, and we didn’t have certainly a vaccine, which we still doesn’t have. It’s entirely different with Monkeypox. We know exactly what the etiologic agent is. We’ve been studying it for a long time. We have diagnostic tests that have now we’re limited at first, but now at least five or six commercial companies now have tests available. We have an antiviral drug called “Peapox,” which was developed several years ago, and we have vaccines against it. So what we need to do now is to get those interventions in an equitable manner distributed to the people who need it. Both those who’ve been exposed that need it what’s called a “post-exposure prophylaxis,” as well as those who might be in a risk group, where just on the basis of the sexual networks or what have you, that they are at risk. We’ve got to get vaccines in a pre-exposure prophylaxis to them.
RUSS: Gotcha. Listen, Dr. Fauci. Listen, I know you’re retiring. And I want to be one of the 18,000 people that have told you, thank you so much for your service. I know over the last couple of years, it’s not what you signed up for to have, you know, personal threats to your life. We’re telling the truth. And I want to say that you got us through a really tough time. And I appreciate your honesty, your candor, and I, you know, I think I don’t know who’s going to replace you, but you’re going to be hard to replace. So thank you for your service, sir.
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