The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has continued to harness innovation for diagnostics, treatment, and prevention and have launched the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) last week, as a national initiative for COVID-19 diagnostics.

Speaking at the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing on new tests for COVID-19, NIH Director Francis Collins outlined the phases for the RADx program which includes a call for innovative technologies and collaboration with the private sector.

“In 20 years at NIH, I’ve never seen something like this move so quickly,” Collins said, referring to the initiative that received $1.5 billion in investment funding from the Federal stimulus.

The RADx program has a three-phase selection process, including a “Phase 0” which is a “shark tank-like” rapid-selection process before moving into Phase One. If certain technologies are far along in development, then they will be put on a different track.

The next two phases include: Validation and Risk Reviews, and Clinical Tests, Regulatory Approval and Scaling up. NIH hopes to have accurate and easy-to-use testing available to U.S. by the end of summer/fall 2020.

Additionally, Collins said that NIH would like to set up demonstration projects for underrepresented groups of the U.S. population through its RADx-UP program. This program will provide testing and work to understand socioeconomic disparities in COVID-19 cases.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.