Rings with various health care images

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?

In-house research

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.

NIEHS research fellow Oswaldo (Ozzy) Lozoya, Ph.D., and lead researcher Douglas Bell, Ph.D., received $1 million from the RADx program. Their project falls under RADx-rad.

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.

Research support

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.

Further Reading