NIH expands research to improve COVID-19 testing among underserved people

Nov. 24, 2020

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded nearly $45 million to expand the research network of the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics Underserved Populations (RADx-UP) program, adding 20 institutions and seven states and territories, according to a press release.

RADx-UP aims to enable and enhance COVID-19 testing of populations disproportionately affected by the disease, including African Americans, American Indians/Alaskan Natives, Latinos/Latinas, Native Hawaiians, older adults, pregnant women and those who are homeless or incarcerated.

This second round of awards brings the total investment in the RADx-UP program to more than $283 million at 55 institutions across 33 states and territories and the Cherokee Nation.

These new grants bolster critical components of the RADx-UP program to address testing hesitancy among underserved and/or vulnerable populations:

· Research on the cultural, ethical, social, behavioral, historical, economic and contextual factors associated with COVID-19 testing

·  Attitudes, expectations and preferences for testing and how test results influence ability and willingness to get tested

· Interpersonal, institutional (e.g., health system), community and policy factors that affect access to COVID-19 testing

A coordination and data collection center at Duke University will provide support and guidance on administrative operations and logistics, facilitating effective use of COVID-19 testing technologies, supporting community and health system engagement and providing overall infrastructure for data collection, integration and sharing.

The RADx initiative was launched in April to speed innovation in the development, commercialization and implementation of technologies for COVID-19 testing.

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