WHO, partners roll out 120 million, $5 rapid Covid-19 tests for poorer nations
London, Sep. 29, 2020 (AltAfrica)-Some 120 million rapid diagnostic tests for coronavirus will be made available to low- and middle-income countries at a maximum of $5 each, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.
The wider availability of quick, reliable and inexpensive testing will help 133 countries to track infections and contain the spread, closing the gap with wealthy ones, it said.
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the manufacturers Abbott ABT.N and SD Biosensor had agreed with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to “make 120 million of these new, highly portable and easy-to-use rapid COVID-19 diagnostic tests available over a period of six months”.
He told a news conference in Geneva the tests were currently priced at a maximum of $5 each but were expected to become cheaper.
“This will enable the expansion of testing, particularly in hard-to-reach areas that do not have laboratory facilities or enough trained health workers to carry out tests,” Tedros said.
“This is a vital addition to the testing capacity and especially important in areas of high transmission.”
Catharina Boehme, chief executive officer of the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), a Geneva-based non-profit organisation in the project, said the deal was a “major milestone” as it was urgent to increase testing in poorer countries