High rates and disparities of COVID-19 infection, morbidity, and mortality continue among underserved and vulnerable populations across the United States. The overarching goal of the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics for Underserved Populations (RADx-UP) initiative is to understand and ameliorate factors that have placed a disproportionate burden of the pandemic on underserved and/or vulnerable populations, specifically by implementing programs that expand the scope and reach of COVID-19 testing interventions to reduce these disparities. To address barriers to testing and vaccination, social, ethical, and behavioral research is urgently needed to inform related mitigation efforts. This Phase II RADx-UP Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is designed to expand research to understand and address the social, ethical, and behavioral implications (SEBI) of COVID-19 testing interventions among underserved and vulnerable populations. Desirable studies for Phase II will move beyond descriptive health disparities research to focus on developing interventions and other actionable solutions in collaboration with community partners and stakeholders. The funding for this initiative is provided from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
SARS-CoV-2 is the novel coronavirus and causative agent of COVID-19, a respiratory disease that exhibits a wide range of clinical outcomes from asymptomatic and mild disease to severe complications and death. COVID-19 diagnostic testing with emergency use authorization (EUA) or (eventually) approval from the United States (U.S.) Food and Drug Administration (FDA) remains critical for tracking and slowing the spread of the virus and preventing future outbreaks. NIH is committed to applying scientific methods to ensure that all populations have optimal access to and uptake of COVID-19 diagnostic and seroprevalence testing —with the goal of reducing health disparities— and to build enhanced point-of-care infrastructures that can be sustained beyond the current pandemic.
Phase I of the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics – Underserved Populations (RADx-UP) initiative established a consortium of community engaged research projects focused on increasing access and uptake of COVID-19 testing among U.S. underserved and vulnerable populations as well as understanding the social, ethical, and behavioral implications on testing and testing related outcomes. Phase I includes 69 funded projects and a Coordination and Data Collection Center (CDCC).
Phase II of the RADx-UP initiative will maintain the focus on COVID-19 testing while responding to the dynamics of case, hospitalization, morbidity and mortality rates across the U.S. Projects should work to understand, inform, and improve SARS CoV-2 testing interventions and other mitigation strategies (e.g., contact tracing, testing combined with behavioral mitigation strategies, education programs, self-isolation after exposure).
Projects should build on knowledge and experience gained to date both by the research team and other relevant studies, and address actionable social, ethical, behavioral, structural, environmental, historical and policy factors that are sources of COVID-19 disparities, including inequities in testing access resulting from multiple levels of influence. Projects should focus on the factors above while considering vaccine availability, distribution, and uptake across populations.
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Filed Under: Funding Opportunities