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Health

U.S. NIH awards nine companies $129 million to scale up COVID-19 testing

(Reuters) - The National Institutes of Health is awarding $129.3 million to nine companies to support scaling-up coronavirus testing and manufacturing new testing technologies, the U.S. health agency said on Wednesday.

The funding is part of NIH's Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative that was launched in April to speed up innovation in the development, commercialization, and implementation of technologies for COVID-19 testing. (bit.ly/2YZo5w8)

NIH said three of the selected companies, MatMaCorp, Maxim Biomedical Inc and MicroGEM International, offer point-of-care tests that produce immediate results.

The remaining six - Aegis Sciences, Broad Institute, Ceres Nanoscience Inc, Illumina Inc, PathGroup and Sonic Healthcare - offer lab-based tests.

The funding will help significantly expand national testing in September, with the laboratories managing collection, analysis and reporting of tens of thousands of tests a day, the agency said in a statement.

In July, NIH made a similar contribution of $248.7 million to seven companies.

“Diagnostic testing is a critical component of the nation’s strategy to meet the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said NIH Director Francis Collins.

Reporting by Vishwadha Chander in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli

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