San Francisco— Elon Musk on Monday said that outgoing White House Chief Medical Adviser, Dr Anthony Fauci, should be criminally prosecuted for funding research that “killed millions of people” in the Covid-19 pandemic. His comment was met with strong criticism from the scientific community and government leaders.

Fauci, set to retire this month as the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the US, has always emphasised the safety and efficacy of the approved Covid vaccines in preventing severe illness and deaths, encouraging people to get vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible.

“My pronouns are Prosecute/Fauci,” Musk first tweeted.

On Monday, the new Twitter owner told his nearly 121 million followers: “Forcing your pronouns upon others when they didn’t ask, and implicitly ostracizing those who don’t, is neither good nor kind to anyone. As for Fauci, he lied to Congress and funded gain-of-function research that killed millions of people. Not awesome imo (in my opinion),” he mentioned.

The scientific community and government leaders came in support of Fauci, who recently said that “for your own safety, for that of your family, get your updated Covid-19 shot as soon as you’re eligible to protect yourself, your family and your community”.

“You do realise that Anthony Fauci does not personally choose whose grant applications get funded, right? There’s a whole process, with two levels of review, a study section consisting of expert scientists to score the grants and then a council to prioritise which ones are funded,” surgeon/scientist David Gorski posted to Musk.

Amy Klobuchar, a Senator from Minnesota, posted that she is “a big fan of Dr. Fauci and how he’s calmly guided our country through crisis”.

“Re Musk tweet? Courting vaccine-deniers doesn’t seem like a smart business strategy, but the issue is this: could you just leave a good man alone in your seemingly endless quest for attention?” She told Musk.

According to Robert Reich, a Berkeley professor and former Secretary of Labour, said that Musk and his enablers have “turned this website into a torrent of ad hominem attacks, lies floated as jokes, and blatant misinformation”.

“This isn’t freedom of speech. It’s just dangerous,” tweeted Reich. (IANS)