A consortium of medical researchers working with the Army is looking for help in finding technology solutions to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus and treat those with the COVID-19 disease, according to a new presolicitation notice posted Sunday.
The notice states interest in “rapid and accurate” tests for the virus, repurposed FDA-approved drugs and predictive modeling that could use artificial intelligence to track the virus’s spread. Requests for proposals will follow an “enhanced white paper” model where a quick turnaround time is used to get potential contracts to the award stage sooner in order to prototype technology faster.
The notice was developed by the Medical Technology Enterprise Consortium (MTEC), a group that works with the Army and other government agencies to develop advanced medical technology. The consortium has more than 300 members and works under an Other Transaction Authority (OTA) to get the government cutting-edge medical research and technology.
“In light of the magnitude and potential threat that the coronavirus (COVID-19) poses to our military’s health and readiness, the Government seeks to rapidly accelerate the inquiry, testing, and fielding of new 21st century capabilities,” according to the notice.
The Army’s other interests include potential mitigating efforts such as patient monitoring technologies and medication to treat the disease caused by the virus. The notice urges those interested in responding to look for technology and medicine that can be used in “a non-hospital environment.” The worry among health officials is a surge in cases that require hospitalization will overwhelm the U.S. medical system.
There is the potential for contracts worth “tens of millions” of dollars and a “likelihood” of follow-on funding available, according to the notice. The contracting method will be sped up to meet the high demand for treatment and tracking technologies as the spread of the virus is expected to increase in the coming weeks.
“The Enhanced White Paper process requires extremely quick turnaround times by Offerors,” the notice states. Once a Request for Project Proposal is posted, which could be soon, offers will have two weeks to submit their ideas.