Kelly, Sinema Urge Federal Agency to Advance New Valley Fever Vaccine

If approved, vaccine would be used to treat and prevent Valley fever — which is endemic to Arizona — in dogs, with potential to develop vaccines for people

Arizona Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema urged U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to give full, fair, and timely consideration of a vaccine application, made by Anivive Lifesciences, to treat and prevent Valley fever in dogs. Senators also encouraged future efforts to develop the vaccine for use in human health. 

“As United States senators representing Arizona, where Valley fever is endemic, we know an approved vaccine would be able to address serious canine health issues. We also believe it holds serious potential for further development for human fungal prevention. We urge the USDA for a timely decision and stand ready to support this public health effort,” wrote the Senators

Valley fever is a fungal infection that is regularly present in Arizona and other parts of the American Southwest, with cases spreading to other parts of the United States. This infection is contracted by breathing dust containing a certain type of fungus that is too small to see that can impact both humans and animals. 

More than 65% of all human cases in the U.S. occur in Arizona. According to the University of Arizona, Arizona’s Valley fever had a lifetime cost of $736 million for Arizona’s 10,359 Valley fever patients in 2019.  

The technology behind this vaccine candidate was developed by the University of Arizona’s Valley Fever Center for Excellence, one of the top research centers for Valley fever. 

Previously, Kelly and Sinema introduced the FORWARD Act – legislation supporting research initiatives to combat the effects of fungal diseases such as Valley fever. The senators also secured language directing the Department of Defense to conduct a comprehensive report to Congress on the impact of valley fever on military readiness into the Senate Armed Services Committee annual defense spending bill (NDAA).  

Click here to read the senators’ letter.