ASM Applauds Introduction of FORWARD Act

Jan. 12, 2024

The Honorable David Schweikert
U.S. House of Representatives
The Honorable Doug LaMalfa
U.S. House of Representatives
The Honorable David Valadao
U.S. House of Representatives
The Honorable Greg Stanton
U.S. House of Representatives
The Honorable Juan Ciscomani
U.S. House of Representatives

Dear Representatives Schweikert, Valadao, LaMalfa, Ciscomani and Stanton:

The American Society for Microbiology (ASM), on behalf of more than 36,000 members in the United States and around the world, thanks Representatives David Schweikert, David Valadao, Doug LaMalfa, Juan Ciscomani and Greg Stanton for introducing the Finding Orphan-disease Remedies with Antifungal Research and Development (FORWARD) Act. The bill (H.R. 6731) supports research initiatives to detect, treat and combat Valley fever, a disease caused by a fungus commonly found in desert soils that can infect the lungs of humans and canines. We are pleased to support the FORWARD Act to address the problem of Valley Fever and antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

If enacted, the bill will authorize $20 million to conduct or support basic, translational and clinical research related to fungal diseases, establish an Endemic Fungal Disease Working Group to make recommendations to the Secretary of Health and Human Services regarding an updated strategy for development of therapeutics and vaccines for endemic fungal diseases and authorize $500 million for 5 years to create the Combating Antimicrobial Resistance Bio-Pharmaceutical Accelerator Program to optimize the use of antimicrobials in human health settings, support products in preclinical and clinical development that reduce AMR and support research to slow the spread of resistant bacteria, fungi and viruses. 

The complexity and the urgency of the problems presented by AMR means it must be addressed with a multi-faceted approach, including supporting innovative research into AMR to better understand the science of microbes and how resistance emerges, championing bold solutions to the challenging antimicrobial marketplace and fostering stewardship models for antimicrobial prescribing that ensure the right person, animal or crop gets the right drug for the right infection, while preserving the effectiveness of currently available antimicrobials long term. ASM and its members have been actively engaged in policy development and discussions pertaining to AMR, including a paper released in July 2023 titled “Policy Pathways to Combat the Global Crisis of Antimicrobial Resistance." 

ASM appreciates the bill sponsors’ awareness of the increasing threat of antifungal resistance, which is driven by limited discovery of new antifungal agents, fungicide overuse in agriculture, overuse and overprescription of antifungals in health care, failure of patients to finish the entire course of antifungal treatments when administered and environmental factors that drive evolution in fungal species and contribute to geographic expansion. As the sponsors note, the resistant fungus causing Valley Fever (Coccidioides immitis) has spread beyond its usual range in the southwestern United States into southern Washington State.

AMR, including antifungal resistance, poses serious threats to human, animal and plant health. It is not solely a health problem, an environmental problem, a diagnostic problem or a drug development problem. ASM and its members stand ready to work with Congress to develop a One Health approach to advance science and practice to protect human and animal health, the economy and society at large. If we can be of further assistance, please have your staff contact Nick Cox, Senior Federal Affairs Officer at the American Society for Microbiology, at

Amalia Corby
Interim Federal Affairs Director

Author: ASM Advocacy

ASM Advocacy
ASM Advocacy is making it easy and providing opportunities for members to advocate for evidence-based scientific policy.