Count Bill Gates among the many admirers of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the 81-year-old immunologist who plans to leave the U.S. federal government at the end of the year.
Gates, the billionaire Microsoft co-founder and health care philanthropist, took to Twitter on Tuesday to shower Fauci’s longtime tenure as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the White House’s chief medical advisor with praise.
“Tony, you were an amazing public servant long before COVID-19 struck — and now you are a hero to millions of people, including me,” Gates wrote.
Gates and Fauci have collaborated multiple times over the course of the past decade. The two have spoken regularly since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, discussing topics like vaccine development and how to address the evolution of coronavirus variants, the billionaire told The Washington Post last year.
The Gates Foundation’s team of researchers even regularly shares information with Fauci, and vice versa, Gates added in an October 2021 interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
“It’s a helpful collaboration, which we’ve always had,” Gates said.
Both men have also repeatedly fought against conspiracy theories blaming them for various issues related to the pandemic, often revolving around Covid vaccines.
″[I]t’s disappointing that that kind of titillating, oversimplistic explanation is easier to click on than, you know, the truth about what a great job the world has done to get these vaccines going,” Gates told the Washington Post last year.
Fauci, who has advised seven U.S. presidents beginning with Ronald Reagan, became a particular target for some far-right politicians after he regularly corrected false coronavirus claims from former President Donald Trump. Some of those lawmakers have promised to investigate Fauci’s handling of the pandemic if Republicans win control of Congress in November.
“I have never had any problem defending what I’ve done and I have nothing to hide,” Fauci told Axios on Tuesday.