April 15, 2021
One Year of Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics, and Anticipating New Challenges
This piece was authored in collaboration with leadership across NIH and represents a unified effort to meet the testing-related challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic with excellence and innovation.
Over the past year, our team of NIH leaders has used this blog to report on an initiative called Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics – or RADxSM for short. The RADx initiative includes five key components designed to address the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic by ensuring that companies make and distribute tests to detect SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19; develop ways to deliver those tests and results directly to people—independent of their age, race, ethnicity, disability, financial status, or where they live; and invest in innovative approaches to detect emerging and spreading infections. NIH has also added a new component to RADx – to find ways to understand and address the concerns of people worried about testing, vaccine safety, and efficacy. The RADx components are described below.
Findings from Recently Published Research
Epigenetic mechanisms in the brain following early life stress increases vulnerability to lifelong stress
One third of individuals with depression are not adequately treated with current therapeutics, leading researchers to seek additional molecular targets for the treatment of depression. In a study funded by the NIMH, researchers used a mouse model to examine the molecular mechanism by which early life stress affects the brain’s reward system to increase susceptibility to depression in adulthood.
More than 2 million families are evicted each year, a number which is likely to increase due to the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic once the various moratoriums against evictions are removed. In a recent study supported by the NICHD and other funding agencies, researchers examined the association of being exposed to any eviction action during pregnancy with infant birth outcomes. Previous studies have shown an association between eviction and housing instability with adverse birth and childhood health outcomes across the life span.
Race/ethnicity and education interact in complex ways - but how do these factors, in America, impact mortality? More specifically, how have returns on education (in terms of life expectancy) changed relative to race/ethnicity? In a study funded by the NIA, scientists examined how receiving a college education provides positive benefits for health and longevity. The authors calculated life expectancy estimates using data from the National Vital Statistic System, the American Community Survey and the Current Population Survey.
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