NIH Ramps Up National Covid-19 Testing Capacity

The National Institutes of Health (“NIH”) recently announced that they had allocated $129.3 million for upscaling and manufacturing new coronavirus testing technology. This would be part of its Rapid Acceleration Diagnostics initiative (RADx). The National Institutes of Health will be awarding the contracts to 9 firms for technologies which include high-throughput labs that can produce results in 24 hours and portable point-of-care tests for immediate results.

Francis S. Collins, the NIH director, stated that diagnostic testing was an essential part of the country’s strategy to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. The RADx initiative, which began at the end of April this year, has produced outstanding results so far.

Apart from NIH support, some features of the technologies being tested have also been supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, in the Department of Defense and by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, which is also in the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Assistant Secretary for Health, Adm. Brett P. Giroir, stated that one of the main features of the testing strategies was to encourage, support as well as enable innovation. He added that the technologies that were being funded had the potential to modify the diagnostics landscape if their abilities were useful in clinical studies.

The approach to testing innovation will not only yield benefits for the coronavirus pandemic but also for the chronic diseases that many Americans deal with every single day.

Five highly automated laboratories will offer a larger coverage in the nation, producing test results at quick turnaround times in different regions. Additionally, each lab will be in charge of the collection, analysis as well as the reporting of thousands of tests each day at various sites, which will significantly expand national testing from this month.

The RADx initiative has incorporated key specialists from various fields such as technology, commercialization and medicine in order to make these new tests available to the general public in about 6 months, which is a feat by itself.

Factors such as cost, accessibility, speed and technical performance are some of the vital features of RADx support. Collectively, these new technologies will increase the type, number and availability of tests significantly by approximately millions per week by the time fall begins in the coming weeks.

Rick A. Bright, the lead for the RADx initiative program, states that the opportunity to upscale high-throughput laboratories as well as fast point-of-care tests that meet the communities needs all around the country is important. He added that the initiative shows the technical diversity, scientific ingenuity and the logistical capacities of the private sector at its best.

This initiative by NIH is likely to be roundly applauded by entities like 180 Life Sciences Corp. since testing is a key component of getting the very disruptive and deadly COVID-19 pandemic under control.

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