US infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci has described White House efforts to discredit him as “bizarre” and a “major mistake”.
His words came after the Trump administration published a list of statements Dr Fauci made in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic – statements which later turned out to be wrong as experts learned more about the disease.
Dr Fauci told The Atlantic magazine: “You know, it is a bit bizarre. I don’t really fully understand it.
“I think if you talk to reasonable people in the White House they realise that was a major mistake on their part because it doesn’t do anything but reflect poorly on them, and I don’t think that was their intention.
“I cannot figure out in my wildest dreams why they would want to do that.”
US President Donald Trump said this week that he values Dr Fauci’s contribution but does not always agree with him.
Coronavirus has infected more than three million people in the US, killing more than 136,000.
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Mr Trump has turned the blame on health institutions and experts, among others, frustrated by their advice as it often threatens his focus on reopening the economy.
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The doctor also said on Wednesday that he was confident the US could produce an effective coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year.
He told Reuters that while there are no guarantees: “I feel good about the projected timetable.”
The latest positive news comes from biotech company Moderna, which said this week that its vaccine had shown promising results in early stage one trials.
The vaccine was developed at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which Dr Fauci directs, and is one of more than 100 being tested worldwide.
Dr Fauci said that the work behind the scenes was of more interest to him than the attacks from some politicians, adding: “I don’t let (the attacks) bother me.
“What we’re doing with vaccines, what we’re doing with therapeutics, what we’re doing with clinical trials is the real substance.”