NIH is committed to helping develop fast, accurate COVID-19 tests that are easily available.

What you need to know

The NIH Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADxSM) initiative is working to quickly develop new, more accurate tests for COVID-19.

What is this initiative doing?

The goal of RADx is to speed up the creation of new, more accurate tests for COVID-19 and get them on the market quickly. These include lab tests, clinical tests (like the kind you get at a pharmacy), and at-home tests. These types of tests are the focus of two programs: RADx Tech and RADx Advanced Technology Platforms (RADx-ATP).

Who is doing the research?

In 2020, NIH funded contracts to 22 different companies to advance and scale up testing technologies. Examples of the work include the following:

  • An antigen test that gives results in 15 minutes
  • Advanced tests for a mobile lab van that can travel to COVID-19 hotspots
  • More accurate tests that require only saliva, a nasal swab, or a finger prick

Why is this research important?

Fast, accurate testing is key to containing and stopping the COVID-19 pandemic. “Each of the technologies emerging from the RADx initiative will play a critical role in extending accessibility to testing in diverse settings,” said NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D.

Where can I go to learn more?

NIH | NIH RADx initiative advances six new COVID-19 testing technologies

  • In this press release, NIH reports on the progress of the RADx initiative.

RADx Tech

  • Watch this video to learn how the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)’s Point of Care network has mobilized many people to create different types of tests to diagnose COVID-19.

All About RADx

  • Learn more about the RADx initiative.


National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. (2020). RADxSM Tech and ATP Programs: Phase 2 Awards. Retrieved November 27, 2020, from

Research Highlights

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