Dr Fauci shoots down Ingraham's suggestion that coronavirus is like HIV/AIDs

'It’s an extraordinarily efficient virus in transmitting from one person to another. Those kinds of viruses don’t just disappear'

Graig Graziosi
Friday 17 April 2020 17:19 BST
Dr Fauci tells Fox News host it's 'misleading' to compare coronavirus and HIV

When a Fox News host compared coronavirus to HIV, Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, kicked the legs out from under the argument.

Laura Ingraham interviewed Mr Fauci on her show, The Ingraham Angle, and questioned whether waiting for a vaccine before re-opening the country was necessary.

"This idea that we are definitely going to have a vaccine, we didn't really approach much else in the same way as we are pegging going back to normal with a vaccine. Did we?" she asked. She cited HIV/Aids, suggesting that the world never developed a vaccine for that virus, yet people continued to live as normal regardless.

Mr Fauci rejected the question's premise and pushed back against Ms Ingraham.

"We don't have a vaccine for HIV/AIDS, but we have spectacularly effective treatment. People who invariably would have died years ago right now are leading essentially normal lives," he said. "SARS is a different story. SARS disappeared."

Mr Fauci then went on to explain how researchers had been developing a SARS vaccine, but stopped when the virus appeared to disappear on its own.

That iteration of the SARS virus infected 8,100 people, which was far fewer than the current number infected by coronavirus.

"I think it's a little bit misleading maybe to compare what we are going through now with HIV or SARS," Mr Fauci said. "They're really different."

Ms Ingraham - who in March tweeted that "Americans need to know [a] date certain when this will end" claiming that "the uncertainty for businesses, parents and kids is just not sustainable" — pushed Mr Fauci, asking if the coronavirus might just "go away" the way SARS disappeared.

Again, Mr Fauci swept away the notion.

"You know, anything could, Laura, but I have to tell you the degree of efficiency of transmissibility of this is really unprecedented in anything that I've seen," he said. "It's an extraordinarily efficient virus in transmitting from one person to another. Those kinds of viruses don't just disappear."

In addition to demanding solid end dates for a pandemic, Ms Ingraham has also been under fire for her proximity to a controversial anti-malarial drug that President Donald Trump has been pushing as an effective treatment for Covid-19.

Ms Ingraham shared a tweet suggesting the drug hydroxychloroquine had been tested with "very promising results" in a New York hospital and claimed a "seriously ill" patient had a "Lazarus-like" recovery thanks to the drug.

Twitter deleted the tweet, claiming it was misleading.

Regardless, Ms Ingraham continued to push the drug, brokering a meeting between President Donald Trump and a pair of doctors who reportedly supported the drug's use as a Covid-19 treatment.

Since then, a French study has been published suggesting that the antimalarial drug has no impact on treating coronavirus but can cause cardiac problems.

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