The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has set aside more than $107 million in research projects and grant supplements to support development of non-traditional technologies needed for COVID-19 testing and surveillance and for addressing future COVID-19 waves and other infectious diseases.
NIH said Monday 43 U.S. institutions received funding under the "Radical" segment of the agency's Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics program to work on nearly 50 initiatives focused on new approaches to SARS-CoV-2 virus tracking and identification.
Technologies being considered under the RADx Radical program include artificial intelligence-powered biomarkers and biosignatures for risk prediction, integrated biosensing platform for early SARS-CoV-2 detection, airborne detector for real-time monitoring and diagnostic breathalyzer for instant virus identification.
"These awards from the RADx-rad program provide superb examples of outside-the-box concepts that will help us overcome this pandemic and give us a cadre of devices and tactics to confront future outbreaks," said Francis Collins, director of NIH.
The awards also provide for efforts to characterize the spectrum of SARS CoV-2 associated illness and to create wastewater technologies and data collection methods intended to inform development of targeted public health protection measures by estimating SARS-CoV-2 community infection levels.
The RADx program provides assistance in COVID-19 testing efforts through four targeted initiatives: RADx Tech, RADx Advanced Technology Platforms, RADx Underserved Populations and RADx Radical. Eleven NIH institutes and centers support the RADx-rad grants and supplements.