Sinema & Kelly Introduce Two Bills to Improve Valley Fever Treatment, Prevention, & Outcomes

Dec 12, 2023

The Senators’ bills support the advanced research and development of Valley fever treatments

WASHINGTON – Arizona Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly introduced two bills aimed at strengthening Arizona’s response to Valley fever – a fungal infection that is regularly present in Arizona and other parts of the American Southwest.

The first bill – the Senators’ FORWARD Act – authorizes $500 million to research initiatives combatting the effects of fungal diseases such as Valley fever, while the second bill encourages vaccine development by allowing Valley fever to be eligible for Priority Review Vouchers.

“Funding research and vaccine development to combat Valley fever protects Arizona families and pets in the short-term while strengthening our public health response against future infectious diseases in the long-term. I’m proud to be working with researchers, entrepreneurs, and Valley fever experts at the University of Arizona on future health care solutions,” said Sinema.

“Arizonans know the dire impacts of Valley fever all too well, and without action, this disease will pose deadly health risks to a growing number of Americans with few tools to treat it,” said Kelly. “We’re working to invest in the treatments and public health strategies needed to protect the health of Arizona families.”

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, with a lifetime cost of roughly $736 million for the more than 10,000 Arizona Valley fever patients. 

Sinema and Kelly’s FORWARD Act supports research efforts to prevent and slow the spread of Valley fever infections by streamlining the process to approve new vaccines and treatments and establishing a working group at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

The Senators’ Priority Review Voucher bill allows Valley fever to be eligible for Priority Review Vouchers – U.S. Food and Drug Administration vouchers awarded to drug sponsors that develop treatments for tropical or neglected conditions, rare pediatric diseases, or medical countermeasures. It improves treatment efforts by granting the drug sponsor an expedited six month regulatory review process, which can otherwise take up to one year.