U.S. Senators Martha McSally (R-AZ) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) joined Congressman and Congressional Valley Fever Task Force Co-Chair Kevin McCarthy, Congressman and Congressional Valley Fever Task Force Co-Chair David Schweikert (AZ-06), Congresswoman Karen Bass (CA-37), and Congressman Greg Stanton (AZ-09) to introduce H.R. 2858 and S. 1567, the Finding Orphan-disease Remedies with Antifungal Research and Development (FORWARD) Act. This legislation would address the short-term, medium-term, and long-term challenges to detecting, treating, and eventually eradicating Valley Fever.
“Valley fever poses a critical health risk in Arizona, with nearly two-thirds of all cases nationwide occurring in our state. The FORWARD Act aids in research, treatment, and most importantly, prevention of Valley Fever to deliver assistance to our communities in need. We need to take this seriously and ensure that resources are invested in the fight against this disease,” said Sen. McSally.
“Whether it’s a neighbor, family member, or coworker, most Arizonans know someone who’s been affected by Valley Fever. I’m committed to advancing research and finding a cure so we can keep Arizonans healthy,” said Sen. Sinema.
“Valley Fever is a serious health problem that has affected our community for years. Since coming to Congress, I have worked with my colleagues to bring more national awareness to this infectious disease by hosting seminars and roundtables with local community leaders, doctors, and members of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health,” said Rep. McCarthy. “The FORWARD Act takes a comprehensive approach to combating Valley Fever, focusing on short-term, medium-term, and long-term strategies to increase public awareness of this disease while enhancing and promoting the development of novel treatments and a vaccine. I am grateful to my colleagues for joining me in this effort and for their dedication to stamping out Valley Fever. I want to especially thank my good friend Senator McSally for working together with me and introducing the companion bill in the Senate, and my good friend and Representative Schweikert for his leadership and steadfast dedication to this issue throughout the years. I hope this bill will bring a continued and much-needed focus to combat Valley Fever.”
Additionally, leading Valley Fever researchers, health professionals, and patient advocates are in support of the FORWARD Act.
“As someone who has been living with the most serious form of Valley Fever for more than seven years, I have seen the damage this disease does to patients and their families,” said Rob Purdie, Patient and Program Development Coordinator at the Valley Fever Institute. “I have also seen the amazing passion of my doctors at the Valley Fever Institute and other doctors and researchers. New research, drugs and vaccines are desperately needed to mitigate the effects of this disease. The bipartisan effort of the House and Senate in introducing these sister bills offers a light at the end of a very long and often dark tunnel for patients and their families dealing with Valley Fever.”