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NIH Awards Additional $45M to Improve COVID-19 Testing Among Underserved, Vulnerable Populations

NEW YORK ─ The National Institutes of Health announced Friday it has awarded almost $45 million as part of an expansion of its Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics Underserved Populations (RADx-UP) program, which is part of the NIH Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative.

RADx-UP has a focus on communities disproportionately affected by the pandemic, including African Americans, American Indians, Latinos, Native Hawaiians, older adults, pregnant women, and those who are homeless or incarcerated.

The NIH had previously announced awards to 32 organizations under the RADx-UP program.

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, the NIH said.

The new awards are expected to bolster critical components of the RADx-UP program, including research into 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; and interpersonal, institutional, community, and policy factors that affect access to COVID-19 testing.

The funding will support a collaborative network of community-engagement projects with established programs that have adequate capacity, infrastructure, and relationships with underserved communities, the NIH said. The effort will strengthen available data on disparities in infection rates, disease progression, and disease outcomes, and improve understanding of differences in testing access and uptake patterns, the agency added.