Two California members of Congress are attempting to get the Food and Drug Administration to take the threat of valley fever more seriously. They are putting pressure on the agency to change the way they classify the condition so that it can be opened up to expanded research efforts that could improve safety.
Valley fever is the colloquial name for a condition known as coccidioidomycosis, which typically impacts persons in the Southwest who come into contact with fungal spores that they inhale from the soil. Although some people might face a couple of days of being ill with symptoms similar to the flu, valley fever can also contribute to more serious issues that may even prove fatal.
A Hanford representative has pointed out that, unlike other fungi, valley fever is not susceptible to antifungal drugs and that other cures currently do not exist. Because of this, he and his Congressional colleague from Bakersfield are pushing for valley fever to be classified as a qualified pathogen on the FDA’s imminent list of conditions that companies should receive incentives to fight.
That list is being spurred on by the Generating Antibiotic Incentives Now Act. Drugs designed to treat conditions that the FDA’s list contains will be subject to fewer obstacles to approval and a larger window to not have to compete with similar products. The thought is that investment and research in these areas will improve due to the potential financial gains made possible through the Act.