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UMKC, WashU Awarded Grant Funding from Blunt-Led COVID-19 Testing Initiative to Expand Outreach to Underserved Communities

November 23, 2020

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) today welcomed the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) announcement that two Missouri institutions, Washington University in St. Louis (WashU) and the University of Missouri – Kansas City (UMKC) have been selected to receive grant funding through the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics Underserved Populations (RADx-UP) program. WashU will receive $2.28 million and UMKC will receive $1.9 million to improve COVID-19 testing among underserved and vulnerable communities. The RADx-UP program is part of the RADx initiative, which Blunt and U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) proposed and Congress created in April.

“While we are seeing encouraging news on the COVID-19 vaccine front, testing will continue to be a critical part of getting people back to school, work, child care, and daily life,” said Blunt. “The RADx initiative is bringing new testing technologies to market faster so we can vastly increase our nationwide testing capacity. The RADx-UP grants will take those efforts a step further by making sure testing is available and utilized where it’s needed most, especially among underserved and vulnerable populations. From the outset of this pandemic, we have worked to ensure funding was available to respond to the unique needs local communities face. That will continue to be a priority in our response efforts.” 

Under the $2.5 billion Shark Tank-style RADx program, NIH, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, and private industry are working together to develop new ways to produce tens of millions of COVID-19 diagnostic tests that are capable of providing quick, inexpensive results.

The RADx initiative is currently supporting 22 companies with manufacturing expansion contracts, which are expected to add 2.7 million tests per day by the end of the year.

More information on the RADx-UP grants for WashU and UMKC is available here.

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