Thank you to Congressman Kevin McCarthy, Dr. Frieden of the CDC, and Dr. Collins of the NIH, as well as the other integral participants in the Kern County Valley Fever Symposium. We had standing room only both days! For those of you who missed it, or want to review what happened, we are beginning the process of collecting all the footage and presentations from the speakers and press that were present, but in the mean time, here are some highlights:
- Over 200 people gathered in the Hans Einstein Room at the Kern County Public Health Department for the Survivors Reception and Community Forum on the 23rd. Survivors and current VF sufferers were given priority to ask questions of the panel, consisting of Dr. Thomas Frieden (Director of the CDC), Dr. Francis Collins (Director of the NIH), and special local guest Dr. Royce Johnson, as the VF specialist.
- NIH and CDC announced endorsement and plans for a double-blind controlled clinical trial to test for Valley Fever among all patients presenting with Community Acquired Pneumonia (of course you will be asked to participate). We expect it will take a while to get the logistics of the trial all worked out, but we are hopeful that since we have the enthusiasm of Dr. Collins (NIH), and Dr. Frieden (CDC), everything will go as smoothly as possible.
- Lynda and Stewart Resnick, owners of Roll Global (parent company of Paramount Farms), were present throughout the symposium, and Mrs. Resnick has expressed interest in possibly being involved in funding vaccine efforts.
- There is a promising new drug in the future of Valley Fever. Nikkomycin Z, currently backed by Valley Fever Solutions, has been shown to be protective in a particularly susceptible strain of mice, and has the possibility of being a cure rather than just another treatment.
- The Coccidioidin skin test is FDA approved but there still remains a $700,000 barrier between now and the ability to use it– the fee that the FDA is charging to be able to sell the test is cost prohibitive to any companies given the limited market. There is continued talk of strategizing to get this fee waived or sponsored.
- Today at the second day of the symposium, we packed the CSUB multipurpose room with standing room only again– tons of people came out to listen and be a part of this amazing event.
Thank you to everyone who came out and supported the cause. We hope to keep this tremendous momentum going toward a vaccine for Valley Fever!