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NIH Announces New Initiative to Speed Up COVID-19 Diagnostics Development

The National Institutes of Health has launched a new initiative to accelerate the development and commercialization of testing technologies for the new coronavirus.

The Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics program will use $1.5B in federal stimulus funds to invest in efforts that work on new COVID-19 testing technologies, NIH said Thursday.

NIH will collaborate with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to look for ways on how to bring to market such tests and make them widely available through the RADx initiative, which will help expand the Point-of-Care Technologies Research Network.

NIH also invites inventors and scientists to take part in a national challenge that seeks to identify candidates for point-of-care COVID-19 tests through a three-phase selection process as part of a goal to produce millions of easy-to-use testing kits each week by the end of the summer. Interested stakeholders have a chance to get a share of up to $500M in funds across all development phases.

“We need all innovators, from the basement to the boardroom, to come together to advance diagnostic technologies, no matter where they are in development,” said NIH Director Francis Collins. “Now is the time for that unmatched American ingenuity to bring the best and most innovative technologies forward to make testing for COVID-19 widely available.”

The RADx initiative came weeks after NIH formed the Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines partnership with other health agencies and biopharmaceutical firms.

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