The National Institutes of Health (NIH) launched in 2020 the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADxSM) initiative, a national call for scientists and organizations to speed innovation in the development, commercialization, and implementation of testing technologies related to COVID-19.
The RADx initiative evolved to four distinct programs:
- RADx Tech aims to speed the development, validation, and commercialization of innovative point-of-care and home-based tests, as well as improve clinical laboratory tests, that can directly detect the virus
- RADx-UP seeks to understand the factors associated with disparities in COVID-19 morbidity and mortality. It will help underserved and vulnerable populations who are disproportionately affected by, have the highest infection rates of, and are most at risk for complications or poor outcomes from COVID-19
- RADx-rad supports new, non-traditional approaches, including rapid-detection devices and home-based testing technologies, for COVID-19 testing
- RADx-ATP pursues increased COVID-19 testing capacity and platforms that could achieve rapid scale-up or expanded geographical placement quickly
NIH funding announcements
NIH devotes significant resources to COVID-19 research. A listing of active and expired funding opportunities related to RADx is available here: Funding Opportunities Specific to COVID-19.
What is NIEHS doing?
The involvement of NIEHS in-house scientists in COVID-19 research exemplifies how consistent, long-term funding allows researchers to quickly respond to a public health emergency.
Bell and Lozoya are developing a testing method that will work on easy-to-obtain samples, such as cheek swabs, to quickly identify virus particles. As a personalized medicine application, their method also will be adaptable to virus identification in other disease outbreaks, to help hold off any future pandemics. They will seek commercial partners as they plan to scale up their testing method.
Grantees of the Superfund Research Program at NIEHS received RADx-UP funding for development and implementation of technologies for COVID-19 testing in underserved populations. Read more about these efforts and other special COVID-19 supplements and activities.
- Find a compendium of materials, including news articles in the Environmental Factor, about NIEHS activities and discoveries related to the coronavirus on this webpage: Coronavirus Updates from NIEHS
- National Library of Medicine: One Year of Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics, and Anticipating New Challenges – blog post (March 31, 2021)
- National Library of Medicine: Why Testing is the Key to Getting Back to Normal – blog post (Sept. 4, 2020)
- Rapid Scaling Up of Covid-19 Diagnostic Testing in the United States — The NIH RADx Initiative – this commentary, authored by NIH leaders and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, September 2020, is publicly available through PubMed Central