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SPARK | REACH Colorado Program is accepting applications on behalf of

NIH RADx-rad program for the development of novel biosensing technologies that leverage the accessibility of human skin and the oral cavity for the detection of biological, chemical, and other biometric signatures of COVID-19.

Deadline for Applications: October 21, 2020



NIH issued Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) in response to the declared public health emergency issued by the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). The Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics - Radical (RADx-rad) is one of four RADx emergency initiatives providing an expedited funding mechanism. The goal of RADx-rad is to solicit proposals for the development of novel, nontraditional approaches to identify the current SARS-CoV-2 virus or other markers of the COVID-19 disease that can be used in future outbreaks of COVID-19 and that could be applicable to other, as yet unknown, viruses. In early August, seven RADx-rad Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) were published. Three of the FOAs in the RADx-rad initiative aim to support the development of “Novel Biosensing for Screening, Diagnosis, and Monitoring of COVID-19 from Skin and the Oral Cavity”*. These FOAs solicit applications for the development of novel biosensing technologies that leverage the accessibility of human skin and the oral cavity for the detection of biological, chemical, and other biometric signatures of COVID-19.

While these FOAs call for relatively advanced projects, this RADx-rad biosensing initiative also aims to support the incubation of promising early-stage projects solicited through the REACH Network to advance early Feasibility and Proof of Concept (analogous to Phase I SBIR projects). This special solicitation for REACH projects seeks applications for biosensing technologies intended for the detection of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emanating from skin and/or multiple (i.e., biologic, chemical, and physical) biosignatures captured from the oral cavity in COVID-19. A total of 5-10 projects will be selected for REACH funding at a level of up to $250,000 per year for up to 2 years. It is expected that projects funded through REACH will strongly demonstrate early feasibility of proposed R&D to position the projects for competitive SBIR/STTR Phase I or Phase II funding in the future.


Specific Objectives

Biosensing and detection technologies submitted to this initiative should provide reliable associations between biomarkers emanating from skin or the oral cavity to patients with symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID-19. Leveraging the accessibility of human skin and the oral cavity, this FOA seeks (1) to advance novel biosensing technologies that are innovative, safe, and effective, and (2) to implement such technologies into devices with integrated artificial intelligent (AI) systems for the detection, diagnosis, prediction, prognosis, and monitoring of COVID-19 in clinical, community and everyday settings.

To this end, dedicated engineering and artificial intelligence systems are required. For skin monitoring, the device can include Electronic-nose (E-nose) technology or Gas Chromatography (GC). Thus, biosensing technologies targeting VOCs emanating from skin or the oral cavity will be referred to as SCENT (Screening for COVID-19 by E-Nose Technology)Oral biosensing devices may consist of technologies that are thoroughly characterized as safe and effective in preclinical studies to conform to and perform in the oral cavity. Non-invasive, real-time, continuous or periodic measurements of VOCs and other biomarkers in breath, droplets, tissues, and other samples emanating from the oral cavity as signatures of onset, progression, and resolution of COVID-19 are desirable.

Multidisciplinary collaborations are expected to ensure project success. Disciplines may include biomedical engineers, material scientists, biosensing experts, software engineers, chemists, dentists, clinicians, virologists, clinical trialists, biostatisticians, data analysts, and other relevant experts in academia and industry.

To Apply, click on the APPLY NOW link above and indicate "RADx Program" in the appropriate question on the first Project Information page.

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