The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded over $107 million to support new, nontraditional approaches and reimagined uses of existing tools to address gaps in COVID-19 testing and surveillance. The program will also develop platforms that can be deployed in future outbreaks of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. A part of the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative, the awards from the RADx Radical (RADx-rad) program will support 49 research projects and grant supplements at 43 institutions across the United States. They will focus on nontraditional viral screening approaches, such as biologic or physiologic markers, new analytic platforms with novel chemistries or engineering, rapid detection strategies, point-of-care devices, and home-based testing technologies.
Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD
“To solve a problem as complicated as COVID-19, we need ideas, tools, and technologies that challenge the way we think about pandemic control,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD. “These awards from the RADx-rad program provide superb examples of outside-the-box concepts that will help us overcome this pandemic and give us a cadre of devices and tactics to confront future outbreaks.”
The grants will support new approaches to identifying and tracking the current SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19. Examples of these projects include:
Additionally, two intramural projects were supported by this initiative: a $1 million award to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences for developing barcoded screening of SARS-CoV-2, and a $200,000 award to the National Library of Medicine for a Nationwide Early-Warning System and Data Platform to aid policy decisions for public health management of viral diseases with COVID-19 as a use case.