There is more information about the ongoing battle for Valley Fever funding. This $2 million would be put toward a combination of surveillance, research, and awareness efforts. It had been estimated from the VFCE that complete funding for the proposed cure nikkomycin Z would require $40 million from its current state of research to completion, but this $2 million is absolutely a step in the right direction. Perhaps the increased awareness of Valley Fever needs to be greatest among the other legislators who are not yet aware of how seriously VF affects the American people.
Congressman McCarthy’s press release elaborates on this news:
McCarthy Secures $2 Million More in Valley Fever Funding, Will Continue Fighting to Stamp Out This DiseaseDec 20, 2019
With 2019 coming to a close, I’d like to give you a quick update on one pressing issue affecting our community – Valley Fever.
As many of you know, Valley Fever is an infectious disease caused by inhaling the spores of a fungus typically found in the Central Valley. As of November 30, 2019, the California Department of Public Health has reported an over ten percent increase in California cases compared to the first eleven months of 2018, and yet there is still no approved cure or vaccine, and treatments remain limited. This is clearly a significant public health concern, and the University of California recently estimated that “direct and indirect lifetime costs of 2017 cases” will amount to approximately $700 million overall.
It’s time to stamp out Valley Fever.
In order to fight this orphan disease, increasing awareness and funding through legislation, grants, and leveraging existing government programs to incentivize drug development is key. Here are a few highlights of the progress we have made this year.
I secured a $2 million increase in funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to expand Valley Fever surveillance, research, and awareness efforts in the federal government’s 2020 budget.
Additionally, I also secured a provision in the Fiscal Year 2020 Defense Appropriations Bill that encourages the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs to research Valley Fever’s effect on service members stationed in our community and limit its impact on military readiness.
This funding follows a meeting earlier this year when I invited leading researchers, patient advocates, doctors, and officials from the CDC and National Institutes of Health (NIH) to the United States Capitol for a roundtable discussion on Valley Fever. I encouraged my colleagues in the House to attend this meeting to hear directly from these experts on the need to further invest in research and efforts to eradicate this disease. This was an important opportunity for members to receive updates, and a productive discussion to advance our fight against Valley Fever.
Shortly after the roundtable, I – along with U.S. Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) and Congressman and Congressional Valley Fever Task Force Co-Chair David Schweikert (AZ-06) – introduced the FORWARD Act to address the short-term, medium-term, and long-term challenges to detecting, treating, and eventually eradicating Valley Fever.
For more information from Congressman Kevin McCarthy’s site, view the complete press release at the source: McCarthy Secures $2 Million More in Valley Fever Funding, Will Continue Fighting to Stamp Out This Disease | Congressman Kevin McCarthy
For more information about the FORWARD Act with commentary from Valley Fever Survivor, see our blog post.