NFL Star Rob Gronkowski and Anivive Lifesciences Join Congressional Leaders on Capitol Hill to Combat the Rising Threat of Valley Fever

–          Capitol Hill puts Valley fever in the spotlight just in time as Anivive’s canine vaccine is under regulatory review.

–          Congress introduced 4 bills that aim to fast-track the FDA review of Valley fever solutions and authorize $500 million to support fungal disease initiatives.

–          Anivive’s canine vaccine could lead to breakthroughs in fungal disease prevention beyond Valley fever.

WASHINGTON, Dec. 19, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — On Capitol Hill last Tuesday, NFL Icon and 4-time Super Bowl Champion Rob Gronkowski and Senators Mark Kelly, Kyrsten Sinema, Markwayne Mullin, and Representative David Schweikert led an event focused squarely on the rising challenge of Valley Fever. Intensified by climate change, this fungal infection is not only a burgeoning public health concern in the American Southwest but also a significant economic burden, costing the U.S. healthcare system an estimated $3.9 billion annually.

Valley Fever, a serious fungal infection caused by the soil-dwelling Coccidioides, results in tens of thousands of human cases each year. Typically contracted through the inhalation of spores from disturbed soil, the disease primarily affects the lungs and can spread to other parts of the body. In extreme cases, it can become life-threatening. The infection poses a particular risk to first responders and military personnel, who are often exposed to environments conducive to the fungus. The threat is also significant for over 30 million dogs in endemic areas like California and Arizona. Faced with this expanding health challenge, veterinarians and zoos have urgently called for Anivive Lifesciences’ preventive vaccine, which is presently under USDA review.

Anivive’s vaccine represents a significant innovation in animal health, with promising implications for human medicine. It is a crucial step in combating Valley Fever and serves as a foundation for future measures against other deadly fungi.

Dylan Balsz, CEO of Anivive, spoke about the vaccine’s broader impact. “Our vaccine for dogs against Valley Fever is more than a singular breakthrough; it’s setting the stage for future vaccines against a range of deadly fungi. This is a step towards a broader revolution in both animal and potentially human healthcare,” he said.

Rob Gronkowski, advocating for pet and public health, expressed his support for the awareness campaign. ” Raising awareness for Valley Fever is crucial, and I’m dedicated to supporting efforts that lead to a healthier future for all,” Gronkowski stated.

To learn more and join Gronk in the fight against Valley fever, visit

In a legislative response to this public health crisis, Congress has introduced bipartisan and bicameral bills to classify Valley Fever as a Tropical Disease eligible for a priority review voucher and to increase funding for the research and development of treatments and preventatives.

“I’m pleased to reintroduce the FORWARD Act this Congress as our Valley Fever Task Force makes significant progress in improving care, treatment, and research into this terrible disease that has devastated so many lives in our communities,” said Congressman Schweikert. “As we’ve seen Valley Fever cases rise across the western United States over the last decade, it’s critical that we continue to prioritize the delivery of medical breakthroughs that will help treat our family members and their beloved pets. This bipartisan legislation helps to combat Valley Fever by providing resources to further close the scientific gap in understanding this disease, support research, and accelerate vaccine development that will hopefully eradicate it once and for all.”

“Arizonans know the dire impacts of Valley fever all too well, and without action, this disease will pose deadly health risks to a growing number of Americans with few tools to treat it,” said Senator Mark Kelly. “We’re working to invest in the treatments and public health strategies needed to protect the health of Arizona families.” 

“Funding research and vaccine development to combat Valley fever protects Arizona families and pets in the short-term while strengthening our public health response against future infectious diseases in the long-term,” said Senator Sinema. “I’m proud to be working with researchers, entrepreneurs, and Valley fever experts at the University of Arizona on future health care solutions.” 

“Humans and animals in the American Southwest are contracting Valley Fever through fungus that grows in the dirt and soil, costing the U.S. healthcare system $3.9 billion each year,” said Senator Mullin. “There are few drugs currently available to treat this disease, but PRV programs can help incentivize the development of treatment that will improve health care outcomes, lower costs, and ultimately save lives.”

You can find out more information on each bill below:

H.R. 6227 –

H.R. 6731 –

S. 3220 –

S. 3464 –

About Anivive Lifesciences

Anivive is a pet pharmaceutical company at the intersection of biotech, AI, software, and veterinary medicine. Our proprietary software platform accelerates the development of new, affordable treatments for life-threatening diseases in pets. Anivive’s pipeline includes 8+ first-in-class therapeutics for three critical areas: Oncology, Anti-viral, and anti-fungal vaccines. For more information, please visit and follow us on social media.

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