Christian Drosten, a global expert on coronaviruses, has advised Chancellor Angela Merkel's government on COVID-19 measures credited with bringing the outbreak under control by early May and keeping the death toll relatively low.
But his high profile and frequent media appearances have also made him a lightning rod for a noisy minority that is angry about social distancing rules they see as too restrictive and even authoritarian.
The debate around the curly-haired scientist in his late 40s reached a peak this week when he became embroiled in a bitter public row with the tabloid-style Bild newspaper, which attempted to cast doubt on his scientific research.
- 'Better things to do' -
The Bild row centres around preliminary results from a study by Drosten's Charite team that claimed children can spread COVID-19 as easily as adults. The issue is key as millions of parents hope to see schools completely reopen.