In addition to NIH funded studies and Medical Industry-funded clinical trials, the Valley Fever Institute conducts research of its own. Funding is needed to establish a biobank of specimens, which will be housed in a state-of-the-art laboratory complete with the latest in research technology. The biobank would allow for the collection and cataloging of specimens from Valley Fever Patients to aid us in improving the sensitivity and specificity of diagnostics. With each study and publication, we gain a better understanding of the disease, but still have unanswered questions:
Why do some individuals’ bodies possess the ability to recognize and fight off a Valley Fever with mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, while one percent of infected individuals go on to develop a severe or life threatening disease? Can we identify genetic or immunological errors at play and predict which individuals are at risk of severe disease? Can these genetic or immunological errors be corrected to prevent or reverse the disease?
Can we identify other biological markers to be measured in new, more accurate, and timely diagnostic tests? Current diagnostic tests rely on the measurement of the body’s immune response to a Coccidioides infection. These markers take several weeks to reach detectable levels and because of this, approximately 50 percent of initial tests for infected individuals are false negative.
Are there treatments that can more effectively manage the disease with fewer side effects? Fungal cells, like those of Coccidioides, share many similarities with human cells, because of this, most molecules that are toxic to Valley Fever, are also toxic to our bodies and result in harsh side effects.
Are there medications that can kill the fungus (without killing the patient) to cure the disease? There are currently no medications available that kill Valley Fever, only medications that slow its growth.
Is it possible to develop a vaccine to prevent Valley Fever altogether? To date, no vaccine to prevent any fungal disease has been FDA approved.
If you would like more information about this study, please call (661) 706-6748 and a study team member will return your call as soon as possible.