NIH Plans for Diagnostic Technologies

The July 2020 NIH-Wide Strategic Plan for COVID-19 Research supports research to develop and validate new diagnostic technologies. Last April, to address the need for better diagnostics, NIH launched the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative to speed innovation in COVID-19 testing technologies.

RADx initiated with a $1.5 billion federal investment will fund innovative technologies to speed development of rapid and widely accessible COVID-19 testing. At the same time, NIH is working to move more advanced diagnostic technologies swiftly through the development pipeline towards commercialization and availability.

Priority 2 in the NIH Strategic Plan concentrates on Advance Detection and Diagnosis of COVID-19 as NIH is aggressively accelerating the development, validation, and commercialization of innovative COVID-19 testing technologies. The focus is on viral tests needed to indicate whether a person has a current infection and or antibody, or for serological tests which indicates if a person has had a previous infection.

To address the need for better diagnostics, The RADX Tech arm aims to speed the development, validation, and commercialization for innovative point-of-care and home-based tests as well as improve clinical laboratory tests able to detect the virus directly.

Also, RADX Tech is going to expand the Point-of-Care Technology Research Network (POCTRN) by using a flexible approach to infuse funding and enhance technology designs at key stages of development. 

New technologies may employ less invasive sampling techniques such as saliva collection, or other approaches such as viral antigen testing to detect the virus protein capsule and will be designed to meet the needs of various settings such as hospitals, schools, and places of business.

RADxRadical (RADX-rad) will support nontraditional approaches to address current gaps in COVID-19 testing. This may include breath detection of SARS-CoV-2, community wastewater detection, and changes in sensory function such as taste, and smell.

Other NIH intramural and extramural activities will focus on developing or adapting diagnostic approaches that may include wearable implantable and remote sensors, medical imaging technologies combined with informatics, use AI for detection and monitoring and for noncontact sensing, and the use of imaging for rapid mass screening and for vital sign assessment.

Go to https://nih,gov/sites/defauot/files/research-training/initiatives/covid-19-strategic-plan/coronavirus-strategic-pla-20200713.pdf to view the NIH-Wide Strategic Plan for COVID-19 Research released July 2020.


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