Dr. Francis Collins, Director for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), said the race to ramp up testing across the United States will be “a wild ride.”
Speaking today to the Senate Health, Education Labor and Pensions Committee about new ideas for defeating coronavirus, Collins said, last week NIH announced a program called Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostic (RADx), “the goal of RADx is to help make millions more accurate and easy to use tests per week available to all Americans by the end of summer, and even more in time for the flu season,” Collins said.
Since it announcement last week, Collins said he is “delighted and somewhat astounded” that as of yesterday afternoon, “there were 1,087 applications initiated, 79 of those already complete.”
“In 27 years at NIH, I have honestly never seen anything move this quickly. The expert review team already in place has identified 20 of these completed applications that are ready to move into that first phase of intense scrutiny and the game is on, and it’s going to be a wild ride,” he said.
Collins warned, the goal of RADx “is a stretch goal that goes well beyond what most experts think will be possible. I have encountered some stunned expressions, when describing these goals and this timetable.”
“The scientific and logistical challenges are truly daunting, but I remain optimistic because of the track record of American ingenuity and the outpouring that has already happened, of great ideas coming into this Shark Tank,” Collins said.