A new research program combining the efforts of Northern Arizona University and the University of Washington aims to create a vaccine for Valley fever, an infectious fungal disease that poses an increasing threat as the climate continues to warm and dry.
“There’s no such thing as a vaccine for any fungal disease out there, and so we’re really going into entirely new territory,” said Deborah Fuller, a microbiology professor and vaccine specialist at UW. “If we’re successful, this would be a huge breakthrough … not just for Valley fever but for fungal diseases in general.”
Valley fever, scientifically known as coccidioidomycosis, mainly affects people living in Southwestern states. Its spores thrive in the soils of hot, dry climates and are small enough to be inhaled by humans and animals alike, causing an infection of the lungs.
Photo by Kris Hanning | The University of Arizona Health