He’s B-a-a-c-k! Fauci, the Gangster Who Couldn’t Jab Straight Bids for Control of the Next Generation of (Nasal) Vaccines

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

As readers know, I stan for nasal vaccines and mucosal immunity generally. So now that I’m sure I’m not gonna stroke out, I’m writing this short post to express my astonishment, dismay, revulsion, and anger that Anthony Fauci — he of the “noble lie” on masking, and the “moving goalposts” on so-called herd immunity — is jumping into nasal vaccine development with both feet, as evidenced by a recent article in Cell, for which Fauci is the corresponding author.[1]

From “Rethinking next-generation vaccines for coronaviruses, influenzaviruses, and other respiratory viruses,” by David M. Morens, Jeffery K. Taubenberger, and Anthony S. Fauci. I will quote the summary in full, interpolating comments:

Viruses that replicate in the human respiratory mucosa without infecting systemically, including influenza A, SARS-CoV-2, endemic coronaviruses, RSV, and many other “common cold” viruses, cause significant mortality and morbidity and are important public health concerns. Because these viruses generally do not elicit complete and durable protective immunity by themselves, they have not to date been effectively controlled by licensed or experimental vaccines.

Oops. Joe Biden, June 2, 2021: “If you’re vaccinated, you are protected.” Jeffrey Zients, June 10, 2021: “If you are fully vaccinated, you are protected.” Anthony Fauci, July 2021: “The broad overall CDC recommendation is that if you are vaccinated, you are protected….” The administration’s messaging was successful; the pervasive “vaxed and done” was the result. (To be fair to Biden, Zients, and Fauci, all of them used qualifying language that you are “protected” against hospitalization and death, but — assuming those hospital-centric, tranmission-encouraging metrics are appropriate, which they are not — “protected” was amplified, the caveats were not, and the public quite reasonably concluded that the Covid vaccines were sterilizing, like others with which they were familiar). More:

In this review, we examine challenges that have impeded development of effective mucosal respiratory vaccines

Like not being included in Trump’s Operation Warp Speed — or Biden’s Operation Warp Speed 2… Oh, wait, let me correct that — losing precious years of development time, though even I can’t blame Fauci for that, having no evidence. More:

… emphasizing that all of these viruses replicate extremely rapidly in the surface epithelium [see an earlier Cell article] and are quickly transmitted to other hosts, within a narrow window of time before adaptive immune responses are fully marshaled. We discuss possible approaches to developing next-generation vaccines against these viruses, in consideration of several variables such as vaccine antigen configuration, dose and adjuventation, route and timing of vaccination, vaccine boosting, adjunctive therapies, and options for public health vaccination polices.

So, Fauci is pivoting to mucosal immunity hence nasal vaccines; presumably his Flex Net of allies, funders, and sycophants will do so as well.

On the one hand, Fauci’s imprimatur could be good for funding. The driver on “next-generation” vaccine, before Fauci big-footed everybody, was Eric Topol of Scripps Research Translational Institute. Here’s Topol in Science, back in July 2022:

As the virus continues its accelerated ability to evade our immune response and increase its transmissibility, we urgently need to achieve population-wide respiratory mucosal immunity. The objective of breaking the chain of transmission at the individual and population level will put us in a far better position to achieve containment of the virus, no less reducing the toll of sickness and long COVID-19. The prospect of achieving this with nasal vaccines is high but will only be possible with dedicated funding, priority, and breaking down of any regulatory hurdles. While we have waited far too long to take such initiative, a new operation at lightning speed could help us get ahead of the virus and build on the initial success of COVID-19 vaccines.

(Oddly, Topol is not cited in Fauci et al., supra., although there are plenty of other citations on policy.) If the effect of Fauci blessing nasal vaccines is funding for Topol’s “operation at lightning speed,” that can only be good, right?

On the other hand, Fauci has form, and there’s every indication that whatever he does will be a complete and utter debacle, thereby ruining (at least for the benighted population of the United States, as opposed to Big Pharma) a technology that could promise — crossed fingers, certainly — a way out of the pandemic. Shorter Fauci: “I got it badly wrong once. Now give me and my buddies more money!”

Because I am very pressed temporally, I cannot go through the Cell paper in full. However, this passage on public policy caught my eye. From Table 2:

(6) Public health considerations relating to next-generation respiratory vaccines [including those for SARS-CoV-2] must contribute to shaping vaccine design, including vaccine schedule, role of boosting, frequency of vaccination and duration/completeness of protection, side effects, and public acceptance

Because Fauci did so well on public acceptance the last time around, right? More importantly, this paragraph seems to envision starting United States nasal vaccine development from the ground up, ex nihilo, on a “green field,” in a clean room, or pick your own “blank slate” metaphor. But why do that? MR SUBLIMINAL ***cough*** So Big Pharma owns the IP ***cough*** Does NIH stand for “Not Invented Here”? Consider an alternative: Among the obvious “possible approaches” that could take place with immediate effect would be for the US government to purchase Bharat’s already developed and manufactured iNCOVACC nasal vaccines (see note 1) in bulk. Or — total dark horse, here — they might purchase Thailand’s already developed and manufactured COVITRAP “evening before” nasal spray. BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA- HA-HA!!!! Who am I kidding? (Oddly, neither iNCOVACC nor Bharat appear in Fauci et al.)

* * *

Though it hurts me to be fair to Fauci, he did telegraph his punch. From Goverment Executive:

Fauci stated specifically, “I am not retiring” now. “After more than 50 years of government service, I plan to pursue the next phase of my career while I still have so much energy and passion for my field,” Fauci continued. “I want to use what I have learned as NIAID director to continue to advance science and public health and to inspire and mentor the next generation of scientific leaders as they help prepare the world to face future infectious disease threats.” Fauci said he will assist with the transition over the coming months at NIAID.

And I guess we now know what the next phase of Fauci’s career will be. From Science, just after Fauci anounced his departure from public life both NIAID and his post as the chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden:

Q: What do you want to accomplish between now and December?

A: I’d like to guide the good research being done in the arena of both mucosal, nasal vaccines for respiratory diseases, as well as more durable vaccines that protect against entire families of viruses. I’m a pusher. We meet as a group at least three, four times a week and I go OK, what are we doing? I try to be not a pain in the ass, but I’d like to keep my foot on the pedal between now and then to keep that thing going.

< Fauci is a vile individual who lies freely without consequence (not, sadly, unknown in the public health field). Couldn’t Fauci have gone for walks in the woods and gotten plotzed on Chardonnay? At long last, has Fauci no decency?


[1] Far be it from me to attribute a commercial motive to [genuflects] the good doctor, but finally we have a study on Bharat’s nasal vaccine, iNCOVACC, in a top-drawer Western medical journal. From the Lancet, “Immunogenicity and Tolerability of BBV154 (iNCOVACC®), an Intranasal SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine, Compared with Intramuscular Covaxin® in Healthy Adults: A Randomised, Open-Label, Phase 3 Clinical Trial” (January 31, 2023). Note that iNCOVACC is already being manufactured and distributed in India. From the Lancet:

Background: Unlike intramuscular vaccines, intranasal COVID-19 vaccines may generate mucosal immunity, which may be critical for to prevent infection and human-to-human transmission. We report interim immunogenicity and safety of an intranasal adenoviral vectored SARS-CoV-2 vaccine (BBV154, iNCOVACC®) in healthy adults compared with licensed intramuscular vaccine (Covaxin®).

Methods: In this open-label, multicentre, phase 3 clinical trial, healthy Indian adults were randomised to receive either two doses of BBV154 (n = 3,000) or Covaxin® (n = 160) 28 days apart. Primary immunogenicity outcome was geometric mean neutralisation antibody titres (PRNT50) against SARS-CoV-2 viruses; key secondary outcomes were safety and solicited adverse events, secretory-IgA and serum-IgA responses and cell-mediated immune responses.

Findings: We screened 3,209 volunteers between April 16 and June 4, 2022 and enrolled and randomised 3,160 to receive BBV154 (n = 2998) or Covaxin (n = 162). On Day 42, 14 days after the second dose, serum GMTs against ancestral (Wuhan) SARS-CoV-2 were 769 (95% CI: 665‒888) and 531 (426‒662) in BBV154 and Covaxin groups. The GMT ratio of 1·45 (95% CI: 1·11‒1·88) met the pre-defined superiority criterion for BBV154 over Covaxin. BBV154 also elicited a higher serum neutralising GMT [171 (137–213)] against Omicron BA.5 than Covaxin [82·4 (48·9–139)]. Similarly, at day 42 GMTs of secretory IgA were 12·3 (95% CI: 8·7 ‒17·4) and 6·6 (95% CI 4·6 ‒9·5) after BBV154 and Covaxin; BBV154 was superior to Covaxin with a GMT ratio of 1·9 (95% CI 1·1–3·0). BBV154 induced higher serum IgA titres and significantly higher levels of antibody-secreting plasmablasts on Day 42. Both vaccines induced equivalent T cell memory responses. Both vaccines were well tolerated, systemic adverse events were reported by 2·7% (82/2990) of BBV154 recipients and 6·2% (10/161) of Covaxin vaccinees. Nasal reactions were experienced by 4·9% (146/2990) of BBV154 participants, whereas 23·0% (37/161) of Covaxin® vaccinees experienced local injection site reactions.

Interpretation: Two intranasal doses of BBV154 were well tolerated with no safety concerns while eliciting superior humoral and mucosal immune responses compared with two intramuscular Covaxin injections. Further studies to assess the effect of BBV154 on infection and transmission are warranted.

Perhaps readers who can read The Great Runes better than I can will interpret the findings. However, what leaps out at me is that Bharat is willing to cannibalize its own intramuscular product in favor of a nasal vaccine. That, to me, implies confidence that Bharat can, well, eat Pfizer and Moderna’s lunch. It’s not hard to see that Fauci — who, let us remember, ramped both Gilead’s remdesivir (later shown to be inffective) and Pfizer’s vaccine as well (based on a press release ffs) — would regard this outcome as suboptimal, and would work to prevent it.


For those who came in late, a collective portrait of our public health establishment, with Fauci at bottom right the allusion (“Easter egg”) in the headline:

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. flora

    This is a family blog. Therefore, I must not type something as rude as “I will never, ever believe another thing this mothing flocker says ever again or trust any treatment he recommends or has a part in creating.” So I won’t type anything like that. I believe his family’s wealth almost doubled over the past 3-4 years. And the band played on….

    Thanks for posting this, Lambert.

    1. britzklieg

      I’ll do it in Spanish for you, with a bit of obfuscation for those easily offended: ¡Hijodelachingadapinchaputamadre!

  2. Arizona Slim

    If there’s one thing a narcissist can’t stand, it’s not being the center of attention.

    So, color me not surprised. I guess Bobby Kennedy will have to add another chapter to his book, The Real Anthony Fauci.

      1. JBird4049

        >>>Kennedys were equally corrupt.

        Very true, but unlike Fauci, they were often competent, and I don’t see them “managing” Covid quite as lethally either.

        1. jsn

          Before neoliberalism, a Kennedy could back off the Bay of Pigs and try to de-escalate in Viet Nam, or a Johnson could pass the Civil Rights Act.

          Now, its all about the Benjamins.

          The class of people that can participate at the top level of power in the US system are the basest, most degraded type. It’s always been con-men and sociopaths, but even they used to believe in something other than money.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Kennedys were equally corrupt

        My reading of RFK Sr. is that he was a human capable of change (as was LBJ, a magnificently flawed titan). If the powers that be hadn’t whacked him — a point in his favor, incidentally — we might be on a better trajectory today. Of course, Joseph Kennedy was a gangster — like so many with “new money” — which is why cleverboots FDR put him in charge of the SEC….

        1. 1 Kings

          Lyndon Johnson wasn’t a gangster? Check his ‘elections’ in Texas, along more serious crimes later.

          He seems like the definition of gangster’ism.

  3. Carolinian

    I got it wrong once.

    Oh surely more than that. Don’t forget AIDS. And I thought Fauci was on the way out the door anyway. At his age couldn’t he use his ill gotten gains for a Viking Cruise or something?

    1. Tvc15

      “Don’t forget AIDS.”

      Indeed, as Lambert mentioned, Fauci has form. People were rightly calling for his head during the AIDS crisis. Bobby Kennedy’s book is damning. It’s a difficult read because of the brazen corruption and profits over people ideology. Biologists, Dr. Bret Weinstein and his wife, Dr. Heather Heying researched 10 or so claims & footnotes at random from the book and found them all credible. Remember Saint Fauci candles?!? In a just world that sociopath would be in prison and all his ill-gotten wealth taken from him. But we already live in the dystopian future Orwell and Huxley wrote about so he’s moved onto his next grift.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Bobby Kennedy’s book is damning

        The problem with Kennedy’s book is that the interesting Fauci material is mixed up with…. a lot of other stuff. Disentangling that particular ball of yarn is not so easy.

  4. Nick Corbishley

    That interview with Science featured arguably the most honest three-word sentence to ever come out of Fauci’s mouth:

    “I’m a pusher.”

  5. Jeremy Grimm

    Fauci? — “inspire and mentor the next generation of scientific leaders as they help prepare the world to face future infectious disease threats” … ????? …
    May God, the gods, or Gaia[?????] or whatever save us.

    Get the basket ready to catch Fauci’s head. [If it misses the basket DO NOT allow anyone to use it to grow a pot of basil — ref. Decameron story ref. Decameron IV.5: Isabella and the Pot of Basil ]

  6. Lee

    Just a wild guess here, but Fauci’s embracing of mucosal immunity-inducing nasal vaccines is probably a good indication that positive developments are probably well on their way to being profitably monetized, which in our system is pretty much the only way things that need doing get done. Ever the giddy (if at times cynical) optimist, me.

    1. Richard Needleman

      No immunologist thought that the injected antigens in the vaccine could provide protection against infection or transmission. Hence no cold vaccines. Most were too afraid to say so.

      Any textbook on immunology will tell you that to protect the mucosal membranes from infection requires an increase in specific secretory IgA(sIgA). The shots increase plasma IgG and IgA which have no access to the sites of infection.

      Why, or rather how, did Pfizer report 0.8% absolute prevention of infection, or their 95% relative protection level? Ignore their results reported in the original submission from PCR tests (its a long story and not relevant). Focus instead on the FOIA released data using N antibody titers to measure infection. If you correct for the vaccines actually decreasing the N antibody response by itself you find zero effectiveness for the vaccine against infection.

      Do real world data (i.e. observational studies) contradict this claim? I leave the proof to the reader, but the short answer is there are no good studies, or rather the data bases are so corrupted and the populations looked at confounded by so many variables that it is impossible to tell. If you think the vaccines protect against infection I would like to know the mechanism you propose. In addition many statistical tricks are used; a good source for some of these for the layman are the papers/videos of Norman Fenton.

      By the way, there are also no good studies on the vaccine’s effect on mortality.

  7. ArvidMartensen

    So Gates told the Lowy Institute a couple of weeks ago on his tennis and “trust me” tour Down Under that nasal vaccines are something to consider. And that current vaccines have problems (no sh*t sherlock)

    My reading of Fauci is that he has worked out where the money is going and has jumped right on the gravy train. This has been his modus operandi for over 40 years, why would he change now, since it has worked so well for him.

  8. Synoia

    Appears he wan his name on more vaccines and the consequent royalties His apparent skills lie in mounds of incomprehensible, Words salad and attendant b

    Greed knows no limits.

  9. Jason Boxman

    For what it’s worth, we don’t know how effective the vaccine actually is at preventing infection:

    Up to the interim cut-off point (Day 180), no deaths, hospitalisations, serious adverse events or symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections had been reported to the site investigators, with surveillance through telephone follow-up or site visits. However, illness visits were not scheduled, and routine SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid testing was not conducted. Long-term safety outcomes are still being assessed.

    (bold mine)

    Natural infection doesn’t confer immunity, so it remains to be seen, I think, whether we can engineer such an outcome. I’d be content with an intranasal spray that works well in conjunction with safe air everywhere, put into practice, as a human right, along with mandatory respirator use in medical facilities and mass transit. Of course, a sterilizing vaccine would be even better, but that wouldn’t account for all the other pathogens floating around in the air!

  10. will rodgers horse

    speaking of suboptimal you missed the punch line:
    “Until the emergence of COVID-19, influenza had for many decades been the deadliest vaccine-preventable viral respiratory disease, one for which only less than suboptimal vaccines are available.”

  11. Elizabeth

    Ever the greed head, Fauci is now charging $50k to $100k for one of his speaking engagements. He’s supposed to deliver a commencement address (yale?). Imagine the privilege of young minds being able to listen to “science” up close and personal.

    Fauci got it right when he said, “I’m ever the pusher.” I was hoping he’d be barred from public life ever again. Sigh

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Fauci is now charging $50k to $100k for one of his speaking engagements

      It did occur to me that now that Fauci is no longer a government employee, he’s free to cash in at whatever level he wants with Big Pharma.

  12. Jeff

    To quote Anthony Jesselnik… The difference between fauci and Michael Douglas’s character from Wall Street is that no one will be sad when fauci dies of cancer.

  13. Raelyn

    Dr. Robert Willner accused Fauci of genocide 30 years ago.

    Like complex math models (that have nothing to do with reality) were used to install neoliberal economics:

    “…If you look at mainstream economics there are three things you will not find in a mainstream economic model – Banks, Debt, and Money. It’s a bit to me like an ornithologist trying to work out how a bird flies whilst ignoring that the bird has wings.”
    ― Steve Keen

    “Economics students are forced to spend so much time with this complex calculus so that they can go to work on Wall St. that there’s no room in the course curriculum for the history of economic thought. So all they know about Adam Smith is what they hear on CNN news or other mass media that are a travesty of what these people really said and if you don’t read the history of economic thought, you’d think there’s only one way of looking at the world and that’s the way the mass media promote things and it’s a propagandistic, Orwellian way.

    The whole economic vocabulary is to cover up what’s really happening and to make people think that the economy is getting richer while the reality is they’re getting poorer and only the top is getting richer and they can only get rich as long as the middle class and the working class don’t realize the scam that’s being pulled off on them.”
    ~ Michael Hudson

    …so too are in silica computer models now being used to “cartoonsplain” VLPs (viral-LIKE particles).

    Dr. Andrew Kaufman’s video The Truth about Virus Tracking debunks germ theory once again.

    The travesty of memory-holing Nikola Tesla’s work is that the deliberate defunding of truly useful studies still goes on today. People like Fauci are in charge of moving billions of dollars around to universities and research foundations, making sure that any venture outside the Official Narrative of Scientism would be unplugged immediately, as in the case of Prof. Chris Exley. The directed evolution of Scientism by defunding real science research needs to end.

  14. Brooklin Bridge

    […] but I’d like to keep my foot on the pedal between now and then[…]

    He doesn’t say whether that pedal is the accelerator or the break.

    I suspect the only thing you can do with anything from Fauci is, slip on it.

  15. Susan the other

    The gang that couldn’t shoot straight. Reminding me of “Lock, Stock, and Two Smokin Barrels”. I apologize in advance for being too easily amused. But I must share a tiny note of optimism. I found another box of old books wherein was a library sale history book of Germany in the Middle Ages. So, I thought why not, and began flipping through it. But it is such an incompetent translation for such pervasive and dynamic violence that I was in stitches laughing after the first few pages. Due to the fact that English does not have a formal dative case ending,, I could not tell, in all the hyper detail, just who the hell was being referred to. So it was genuinely funny. Especially in light of the historical fact that all these self-serving characters were slaughtering each other right and left for treasure, even as Genghis Khan lay dying and the plague was everywhere. I mean, my dear god, all those clowns died almost faster than history could record them. I’m left with the feeling that although our cutthroat neoliberal corporations are truly as ruthless as late dark-age princes, there is enough sanity in us to make it through the next 800 years.

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