The rapid worldwide spread and impact of COVID-19 created a need for accurate, reliable, and readily accessible testing on a massive scale. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) launched the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative in 2020 to speed innovation in the development, commercialization, and implementation of technologies for COVID-19 testing. The goal is to provide accurate, fast, easy-to-use, and widely accessible testing to help the US safely return to normal life.

The RADx Tech initiative (Budget: $500 Million) is aimed at speeding the development, validation, and commercialization of innovative point-of-care and home-based tests, as well as improve clinical laboratory tests for direct detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The RADx Radical (RADx-rad) program (Budget: $200 Million) supports new, non-traditional approaches, including rapid detection devices and home-based testing technologies to address gaps in COVID-19 testing. The program also supports new or non-traditional applications of existing approaches to make them more usable, accessible, or accurate, with the goal to develop novel ways to identify the SARS-CoV-2 virus as well as potential future viruses.

MBArC-RADx-Tech Project: FastDetect: Rugged, Mini RT-qPCR for SARS-Cov-2 Detection 

Collaborators: University of Missouri/FastDetect
MU Principal Investigator: Lester Layfield

Project Description: FastDetect is working on developing, optimizing, testing, and deploying a small, simple, accurate, low limit of detection (LOD) point-of-care sample to answer qPCR system for detection of SARS-CoV-2 in various patient sample media. The goal is to achieve rapid and wide-scale decentralized testing in less than 15 minutes.

MBArC-RADx-Tech Project: Screening Diagnostic for COVID-19 using Microfluidic Enrichment and Counting of SARS-CoV-2 Particles 

Collaborators: University of Kansas/BioFluidica
KU Principal Investigator: Steve Soper

Project Decription: BioFluidica, in collaboration with the University of Kansas, is developing a diagnostic device to provide efficient (high sensitivity and specificity) detection of viral particles, such as SARS-CoV-2. The product consists of a handheld instrument and reports the viral load of SARS-CoV-2 from any clinical sample, e.g., nasal or throat swab, or saliva.

MBArC-RADx-Tech Project: Electronic Probe for High-throughput, Low-cost Testing of SARS-CoV-2 from Breath with Accurate Results in Real-time

Missouri University of Science and Technology Principal Investigator: Jie Huang

Project Description: This project aims to develop and test a novel breath analyzer probe that can detect SARS-CoV-2 from exhaled breath in real-time (time to test result less than 30s). The probe has a limit of detection in the pico-gram range (~10,000 virions).

MBArC-RADx-rad Project: MOF-SCENT: Metal-organic Frameworks for Screening COVID-19 by Electronic-Nose Technology to Improve Selectivity and Time Response

Missouri University of Science and Technology Principal Investigator: Jie Huang

Project Description: The project proposes to combine metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), a relatively new category of crystalline nanoporous materials, electromagnetic dielectric spectroscopy, and electronic-nose (E-nose) technologies for in-situ, reliable, low-cost, and rapid detection of target volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Chemical signatures of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in humans can be utilized for point-of-care diagnosis of diseases like COVID-19.