The Dan David Prize announced on Monday that the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has been named a recipient of the award for 2021, along with fellow distinguished health and medical scholars and researchers, reflecting the global focus on the coronavirus crisis and the immense efforts the scientific community continues to undertake for the betterment of global health.

Along with Fauci, who won the prize in the field of Public Health (Present category), this year’s laureates include health and medicine historians Professor Alison Bashford, Professor Katharine Park and Professor Keith Wailoo in the field of History of Health and Medicine (Past category); and the pioneers of anti-cancer immunotherapy Professor Zelig Eshhar, Professor Carl June and Dr. Steven Rosenberg in the field of Molecular Medicine (Future category).

The internationally renowned prize, headquartered at Tel Aviv University, annually honors outstanding contributions of globally inspiring individuals and organizations that expand knowledge of the past, enrich society in the present and promise to improve the future.

It awards three gifts of $1 million shared among the winners of each category. The total purse of $3 million makes the Dan David Prize one of the highest-valued awards internationally.

Professor Katharine Park. Credit: Courtesy.

In their announcement, the prize committee commended Fauci for “his exceptional contribution to HIV research, for being the architect of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, saving millions of lives in the developing  world; for his leadership in heading the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and in particular for fighting for the recognition of novel approaches such as mRNA vaccines now being given to millions  worldwide; and for courageously defending science in the face of uninformed opposition during the challenging  COVID crisis.”

Ariel David, director of the Dan David Foundation and son of the prize founder, said this year’s laureates “have probed how humanity has dealt with sickness and pandemics throughout history; they have provided relief, guidance and leadership in dealing with current outbreaks—from AIDS to Ebola and the novel coronavirus—and they are at the forefront of discovering new treatments that give us hope for the future in the ongoing battle against cancer and other diseases.”

Since its inception 20 years ago, the Dan David Prize has acknowledged thinkers and innovators who have made a major impact on humankind, including cellist Yo-Yo Ma (2006); former U.S. Vice President Al Gore (2008); co-discoverer of the AIDS virus, Professor Robert Gallo (2009); novelist Margaret Atwood (2010); filmmakers Ethan and Joel Coen (2011); renowned economist Esther Duflo (2013), and artificial intelligence researcher, neuroscientist and entrepreneur Dr. Demis Hassabis (2020).

The seven laureates will be honored at the 2021 Dan David Prize Award Ceremony to be held online in May.

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