You Can’t Say Fauci Don’t Know Luc

It turns out Dr. Tony Fauci does indeed know Luc.

"I can't remember his last name, but do you know Luc of GSK?" Steve Clemons of The Atlantic asked the NIH's chief infectious disease guy...


...audience laughter...

...Slight disagreement about the state of vaccine development in the U.S...

(There are nearly 100,000 employees at the pharmaceutical giant, including 42,000 in Europe alone. I don’t know if this means the odds were not in anyone’s favor that Dr. Fauci would know Luc, or if it’s more likely he would know five Lucs, a dozen or so Lukes and probably some Lucases.)

This conversation between Dr. Fauci and Clemons, The Atlantic’s Washington editor-at-large, took place during the Washington Ideas policy forum, which popped up last week inside Rosa Mexicano. (Clemons responded to my tweet later that he was talking about this guy.)

Fauci at WashingtonIdeasAmid a bright pink backdrop, equally bright sangria (none for me!) and that famous guac (this was much harder to resist, but I managed), everyone from Madeleine Albright to the founder of &Pizza shared the same stage. Dr. Fauci, who is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, was up last week as part of the health and science track. He answered questions from Clemons on NIH funding, the AIDS epidemic, and, of course, Zika.

So I followed up with the NIAID the next day on the status of the phase II clinical trial for an experimental Zika vaccine (They announced that trial in March, and, hey, things can change…). And when the phone rang there was a distinctly Brooklyn voice on the other line.

"Hi Dr. Fauci. By the way, I figured out who Luc is."

"Who’s Luc?"

"Luc Debruyne, president of global vaccines."

"Oh yeah! I know Luc."

And there you go. If you would like substantive information, such as the actual status of the Zika vaccine trial, that’s all in my article.

I also asked him about the status of the universal flu vaccine, but you’re going to have to subscribe to read that one...

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