The @FauciFan Twitter account—which last week featured a photo of a young Fauci explaining how HIV interacts with the immune system, captioned “#tbt #thirsttrap”—was created by Sarah Alexander, Tiffany Zarrella, and Leann Zhou, three friends and microbiologists who work together in Bethesda, Maryland. They are not joking about their crush.

The trio had been talking about their thirst for Fauci over text, and decided to take it public in hopes that it would be entertaining to other bored and freaked-out people. Zhou, 22, told me that she thinks people are drawn to Fauci’s “cute Brooklyn accent.” She wouldn’t have been able to guess his age, she added, pointing out that he’s an avid runner, and has serious light-up-the-room energy. “He’s very knowledgeable and expert, but he speaks in a really approachable way,” Zarella, 33, told me. “Everyone wants to know what’s going on, and he delivers.”

Alexander, 25, agrees, saying, “I do personally think that he actually is attractive, and it’s not unheard of for people to be attracted to older men. Look at Jeff Goldblum.” I proposed to her that Goldblum is an actual Hollywood star, and that there might be something strange about presenting Fauci as one. “We’re not trying to prop him up and make him a celebrity,” she told me. “It’s just an appreciation of him. He’s working 16-plus-hour days.”