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NIH seeks next generation of COVID-19 diagnostics

Funded by the RADx Tech program, the new tests are expected to offer improved accessibility and performance.

The National Institutes of Health has issued two new funding opportunities for diagnostic test makers to develop the next generation of COVID-19 tests, with a focus on affordability. The funding opportunities are part of the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) technology program, run by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB). The new programs can award up to $300 million in funds from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to support accelerated test development and provide regulatory guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

The first solicitation is for accessible over-the-counter tests that can be used by people with disabilities, specifically blindness, low vision, fine motor difficulties, and disabilities related to aging. Products should be ready for commercialization in 12 to 24 months. The second solicitation focuses on improving over-the-counter and point-of-care testing performance as well as incorporating universal design features to ensure ease of use. Testing should aim to minimize or eliminate the need for serial testing and performance should not be affected by variants. Products should be ready for commercialization in 24 to 36 months.

This effort builds on a highly successful program that has increased US testing capacity by billions in two years and reduced the technology development timeline by months. Applications can be submitted from September 20, 2022.

Bruce Tromberg, Ph.D., director of NIBIB, which leads the RADx Tech program

To arrange an interview, contact sends e-mail) or call 301-496-3500.

The Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) program is a registered trademark of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

About the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx®) initiative: The RADx initiative was launched on April 29, 2020 to accelerate innovation in the development, commercialization and implementation of technologies for COVID-19 testing. The initiative includes four programs: RADx Tech, RADx Advanced Technology Platforms, RADx Underserved Populations and RADx Radical. It builds on the existing NIH Point-of-Care technology research network. The RADx initiative partners with federal agencies including the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health, the Department of Defense, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, and the United States Food and Drug Administration. Learn more about the RADx initiative and its programs.

About the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB): NIBIB’s mission is to improve health by leading the development and accelerating the application of biomedical technologies. The Institute is committed to integrating the physical and engineering sciences with the life sciences to advance basic research and medical care. NIBIB supports the research and development of emerging technologies within its internal laboratories and through grants, collaborations and training. More information is available on the NIBIB website.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): The NIH, the country’s medical research agency, comprises 27 institutes and centers and is part of the US Department of Health and Human Services. The NIH is the primary federal agency that conducts and supports basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and studies the causes, treatments, and cures for common and rare diseases. For more information about the NIH and its programs, visit

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