The US Army has put out a $25 million bid to speed up the development of wearable coronavirus detectors that can identify early signs of the illness, according to a new report.
The military put out a request for project proposals through its Medical Technology Enterprise Consortium on Monday — and hopes to award up to 10 contracts within weeks, Stars and Stripes reported. The contagion has already infected nearly 5,000 service members.
“There is a dire and urgent need for development of rapid, accurate wearable diagnostics to identify and isolate pre-symptomatic COVID-19 cases and track/prevent the spread of the virus,” said the Army’s proposal, according to the outlet.
The “minimally invasive” kits should not affect the user’s daily activity — and must be capable of monitoring for symptoms including elevated temperature, respiratory difficulty, antibodies against COVID-19 and molecular biomarkers that indicate exposure, the bid says.
The Army is seeking existing, proven technology rather than a new system — and companies involved in development should be ready and able to produce on a large scale, according to the bid.
The Army is hoping the detectors could help identify those without symptoms who unknowingly spread the virus, which has been a problem in the past, the outlet reported.
“Physiologic surveillance for COVID-19 positive individuals that do not yet show clear medical symptoms is an ultimate goal,” the proposal said.
The winning bidders must work to obtain any necessary FDA approvals — including an emergency use authorization within the first 45 days of the contract, Nextgov.com reported.