Epidemics of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases are a significant and growing global threat. Since 2002, the world has experienced over a dozen major infectious disease outbreaks. Diagnostics are crucial to mitigate the effect of disease outbreaks. Diagnosing patients quickly is essential to break the transmission chain and contain epidemics. For instance, in the West Africa Ebola outbreak, diagnostics and diagnostic response were critical factors in the absence of interventions. Earlier diagnosis could have controlled 30-70% of cases.
Recently, FIND successfully established an Outbreaks programme focused on Ebola, Zika and needs assessments across diseases. During and after the Ebola epidemic in West Africa from 2014-2016, FIND supported the response to the outbreak with rapid case detection and health system strengthening. In this instance, FIND’s unique expertise at the nexus of global and local public health, and understanding of the commercial diagnostics industry and emerging technologies, were instrumental in achieving rapid and long lasting success.
In June 2017, FIND signed a memorandum of understanding with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to work together to drive the development and delivery of diagnostics for outbreak preparedness: CEPI·dx.
CEPI·dx’s goal is to strengthen global diagnostic preparedness by addressing the key issues around the development and uptake of critical diagnostics. CEPI∙dx will align focus on holistic solutions to epidemic preparedness. CEPI·dx will focus on seven objectives focused around FIND’s strategic pillars:
- Drive development of diagnostics to address specific needs for priority pathogens as defined by the WHO Blueprint for R&D and CEPI (MERS, Lassa, Nipah), capitalizing on existing platforms.
- Turn existing platforms into flexible response systems by developing R&D and business mechanisms to incorporate new assays onto commercialized platforms.
- Develop a one-stop outbreak response platform capable of testing all relevant sample types and biomarkers.
Guide use and policy
- Lead products through the regulatory trials pathway to global policy on use and market entry.
- Guide global initiatives to improve regional diagnostic preparedness, e.g., procurement practices, equitable access and affordable pricing.
- Build regional diagnostic preparedness capabilities to increase speed of response.
Shape the agenda
- Foster long-term partnerships and increase global financing for outbreak preparedness