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NIH, HHS fast-tracking point-of-care, pooled tech as way out of testing crunch

HHS and NIH spotlight aggressive push for point-of-care and pooled COVID-19 testing technologies

The U.S. government is taking non-conventional paths to point-of-care and pooled technologies in its push to bulk up and speed up the country’s strained COVID-19 testing capacity.

In HHS’s case, the department is scrambling to patch together all available testing resources to meet surging demand. At NIH, a new program launched five days after federal funds became available is taking an aggressively streamlined approach that arguably models how translational research should have been conducted all along.

Both agencies put out communications this week that featured COVID-19 testing numbers, with HHS reporting capacity in the present and near-term, and NIH announcing the benchmarks its Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) program hopes to hit by year end.

HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir said in a press briefing Thursday that the U.S. is running 700,000 COVID-19 tests per day, and that projections indicate 51 million tests will be run in August and 65 million in September; 13 million and 20 million of those, respectively, are projected to be point-of-care tests.

Separately, in a New England Journal of Medicine report published Wednesday, NIH

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