National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci laughed off criticism that has been leveled at him by Republican lawmakers, dismissing "the Rand Pauls and all that other nonsense" as "noise."

Speaking to CBS' Face the Nation in an interview broadcast on Sunday, Fauci also responded dismissively when told Sen. Ted Cruz had called to prosecute Fauci.

"I have to laugh at that. I should be prosecuted? What happened on Jan. 6, senator?"

He added that such calls were simply a means of turning him into a "scapegoat to deflect from Trump."

"Of course, you have to be asleep not to figure that one out."

He said the attacks against him had a "distinct anti-science flavor" and were essentially attacks on science itself, because he "represents science."

"If they get up and criticize science, nobody's going to know what they're talking about. But if they get up and really aim their bullets at Tony Fauci, well, people could recognize there's a person there. There's a face, there's a voice you can recognize, you see him on television. So it's easy to criticize, but they're really criticizing science because I represent science. That's dangerous."

In the same interview, Fauci addressed the possibility of ongoing intermittent "booster" shots.

"It is conceivable that when we get that extra boost, that will make the durability go well beyond six months and even longer. Or it may be that we will have to boost people intermittently the way we do it with influenza. Right now, we do not know definitively what that course is going to be. Whether it's going to be a three shot and you're done or three shots and then every once in a while you have to reboost. We'll have to see how things roll out. Otherwise, we just can't say something and guess about it."

He added, "We really need to find out when you do boost an individual, how long does that immunity last, both from a laboratory standpoint and from a protection standpoint? So the one thing we want to make sure, now that we're getting full blown into the booster phase, we've got to make sure we know what that means from a clinical standpoint."

He said when he had first heard of an "unusual pneumonia" in China, "it may have been Dec 31 or the 30th [2019] or 1st of Jan [2020]." Soon after, he said, he set about trying to develop a vaccine.

"I got a call from Bob Redfield who said, you know, I just heard from colleagues in China that there's an unusual pneumonia among people that has been detected. So we just got to stay heads up for that. And then a few days later, I think it was Jan 9th, or 10th the sequence came out. I got- as soon as I heard there was a new pneumonia, I said, well, a new pneumonia, Wuhan, wet market almost certainly it's going to be a coronavirus.

"We all thought it would be similar to SARS-CoV-1, and that's when I got my team organized immediately and said as soon as we get that sequence of what it is, let's go after that vaccine, let's plug it into MRNA. We were already collaborating with Moderna with MRNA and let's do it. And it was rocket speed. I mean, we found out on the 10th of January of what the sequence was. About five or six days later we were starting with the vaccine development with Moderna. Sixty-five days later, we did a phase one trial, and multiple months later, we knew we had a safe and effective vaccine."

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