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Kelly and Sinema urge USDA approval of Valley fever vaccine for dogs

Published: Thursday, July 6, 2023 - 3:40pm

The fungal infection known as Valley fever is more common in Arizona than anywhere else, sickening thousands of people in the state each year. It’s even more common in dogs. So Arizona Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly are urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to approve a veterinary vaccine for the disease. 

Researchers from the University of Arizona announced in 2021 they had successfully found a way to prevent Valley fever in dogs. Veterinary pharmaceutical company Anivive Lifesciences is now seeking USDA approval for the vaccine. Researchers hope if the dog vaccine becomes a reality, that could pave the way for a development of a similar shot for humans.

In a letter to the USDA, Kelly and Sinema ask the department to give fair consideration to the dog vaccine. It’s crucial, they say, because Valley fever already costs Arizona more than $700 million per year and the disease has been becoming more common in other parts of the country.

"We know an approved vaccine would be able to address serious canine health issues. We also believe it holds serious potential for further development for human fungal prevention. We urge the USDA for a timely decision and stand ready to support this public health effort,” the senators wrote.  

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