McCarthy applauds establishment of federal Valley Fever research, prevention program

U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on Tuesday commended action by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to create a new federal program that would establish research teams to improve the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of Valley Fever. 

“I applaud NIAID for the decision to move forward with establishing Valley Fever research teams and issuing a funding opportunity announcement with the intention to commit $6 million in fiscal year 2022,” Rep. McCarthy said. “Our community and California’s Central Valley are uniquely impacted by Valley Fever with the California Department of Public Health ranking Kern County first in the number of Valley Fever cases in 2019.”

In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, which the lawmaker said presents similar symptoms to Valley Fever, “it is now more important than ever to double down our efforts to better understand and treat this fungal disease,” he said.

Specifically, NIAID recently issued a notice of funding opportunity to establish the Coccidioidomycosis Collaborative Research Centers (CCRC) program. The announcement followed a Sept. 15 letter Rep. McCarthy and several colleagues sent to National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins and NIAID Director Anthony Fauci in support of the Valley Fever collaborative research centers.

“As members of the Congressional Valley Fever Task Force, who represent some of the hotspots of Valley Fever in the American Southwest, we applaud these efforts, particularly since Valley Fever presents pneumonia-like symptoms that are similar to those of the novel coronavirus, which can result in misdiagnosis of both diseases and lead to improper treatment regimens,” the lawmakers wrote. “This makes the Valley Fever concept even more timely and important.”