The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced a new initiative aimed at speeding innovation, development and commercialization of COVID-19 testing technologies.
With a $1.5-billion investment from federal stimulus funding, the newly launched Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative will infuse funding into early innovative technologies to speed development of rapid and widely accessible COVID-19 testing, Xinhua news agency on Thursday quoted an NIH statement as saying.
The NIH will seek opportunities to move more advanced diagnostic technologies swiftly through the development pipeline toward commercialization and broad availability. "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.
As part of this initiative, the NIH is urging all scientists and inventors with a rapid testing technology to compete in a national COVID-19 testing challenge for a share of up to 500 million dollars over all phases of development.
Highly competitive evaluation
The technologies will be put through a highly competitive, rapid three-phase selection process to identify the best candidates for at-home or point-of-care tests for COVID-19, according to the NIH.
The US currently accounts for the highest number of coronavirus cases, as well as deaths in the world. As of Friday morning, the cases increased to 1,069,424, with 63,006 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University.