University of Arizona researchers one step closer to Valley fever vaccine

KOLD News at 10 p.m. on Saturdays
Published: Jul. 4, 2022 at 5:30 AM MST|Updated: Jul. 4, 2022 at 5:33 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Researchers at the University of Arizona are one step closer to a long-awaited Valley fever vaccine. KOLD was first to tell you about the vaccine’s development just over a year ago in our podcast Danger In The Dust.

The director of the Valley fever program, John Galgiani, said he’s “comfortable” the vaccine is ready for your canine companions.

“It is now pretty much fully funded to become a vaccine, hopefully in vet offices to protect dogs by 2023,” Galgiani said.

It’s a big step in the right direction. The vaccine was developed on the UA campus. And now, it’s about ready to be used.

Galgiani said, “If you could show that it worked for Valley fever in dogs. That would in fact be a proof of concept that you ought to take this vaccine further toward humans. We’ve now shown that it works in dogs.” He added that Valley fever in dogs parallels in a lot of ways the same in humans.

Galgiani said the symptoms of Valley fever aren’t far off from long-term COVID, such as fatigue and body aches. He said he knows it works and there’s a big need for it here in Arizona.

Galgiani said “there is a need for dogs,” before adding, “They get Valley fever three or four times as frequently as humans do per year. And, the state does not keep statistics on diagnosis in dogs.” Now, with this valuable new vaccine, he’s ready to start pushing forward for a vaccine for humans.

It is something Arizona resident Kurt Hargleroad is grateful for and knows all too, well. “We heard about the rattlesnakes, we heard about the scorpions. But, nobody talks about Valley fever.” He’s had Valley fever himself. While he said he’s doing fine. He knows for others, it can be much worse.

“I did not have serious complications from it. So I was very lucky from what I’ve heard,” Hargleroad said. Now, he’s hopeful for the future of this groundbreaking vaccine. And what it could mean for both dogs and people.

According to the University of Arizona’s research, two out of three Valley fever infections in the U.S. happen in Arizona. As the vaccine for dogs moves forward, researchers are trying to now meet the new goal to get funding for the vaccine for humans.

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