Optum Global Solutions pledges INR 2.20 crores to strengthen COVID-19 testing capacity in India
- Optum Global Solutions (India) Private Limited has pledged INR 2.20 crores (~US$ 294,000) to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in India
- New funding to FIND India will help strengthen the capacity of government-run laboratories to diagnose COVID-19 through supply of essential equipment and consumables
New Delhi, India – 1 October 2020 – The Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) announced today that Optum Global Solutions (India) Private Limited has pledged INR 2.20 crores (~US$ 294,000) to FIND India to boost the country’s testing capacity in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Optum, a part of UnitedHealth Group, has committed ~INR 11.45 crores (~ US$ 1.5 million) to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in India. The funding is part of a US$ 10 million COVID-19 global fund committed by UnitedHealth Group for countries where its businesses operate. Other recipients in India include the Prime Minister’s CARES Fund, the Chief Minister’s Relief fund – Government of Telangana and the Haryana Corona Relief Fund – Government of Haryana.
Testing is the first line of defence against COVID-19 and most importantly, it is actionable now: testing, tracing, and isolating confirmed cases works. Until a vaccine is developed and produced for global use, diagnostics are the most effective tool available today to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Building on decades of experience fighting other epidemics and infectious diseases, FIND is co-convening the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator Diagnostics Pillar, together with the Global Fund, to accelerate innovation and overcome the technical, financial, and political obstacles to achieving equitable access to effective and timely testing.
In India, FIND has been working closely with the Government of India (GoI) to scale-up testing capacity through the provision of critical diagnostic equipment, test-kits and consumables such as RT-PCR machines, sequencers, DNA extraction and amplification kits and viral transport media (for collection and transportation of samples for COVID-19 testing). FIND is additionally investing efforts in training and capacity building of laboratory staff engaged in COVID-19 testing across India.
As of 29 September 2020, the GoI has tested over 74 million samples and is conducting over 1 million tests per day. The capacity of several existing and new laboratories needs to be continually strengthened to meet the GoI’s aggressive and accelerated testing demands.
With the funding received from Optum, FIND India aims to support designated public or government-run laboratories to further strengthen laboratory testing capacity for COVID-19 through provision of essential equipment, supplies (test kits and rapid diagnostic kits) and other laboratory needs by working directly with manufacturers and suppliers to secure these supplies.
“Optum aims to support communities that have been hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. Testing is saving lives today and is also allowing economies to reopen which is vital for any country. We hope that our partnership with FIND India will boost testing efforts,” said Ritesh Talapatra, Managing Director of Optum Global Solutions (India).
“Currently, testing is the only way to identify flare ups and hotspots so that appropriate containment measures can be implemented in a timely manner,” said Sanjay Sarin, Head of FIND India. “The generous support from Optum will aid our ongoing efforts to identify patients faster and thus break the chain of transmission.”
Given the urgency, these activities will commence immediately, and are expected to be completed by the end of 2020.
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FIND is a global non-profit organization that drives innovation in the development and delivery of diagnostics to combat major diseases affecting the world’s poorest populations. Our work bridges R&D to access, overcoming scientific barriers to technology development; generating evidence for regulators and policymakers; addressing market failures; and enabling accelerated uptake and access to diagnostics in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Since 2003, we have been instrumental in the development of 24 new diagnostic tools used in 150 LMICs. Over 50 million FIND-supported products have been provided to our target markets since the start of 2015. A WHO Collaborating Centre, we work with more than 200 academic, industry, governmental, and civil society partners worldwide, on over 70 active projects that cross six priority disease areas. FIND is committed to a future in which diagnostics underpin treatment decisions and provide the foundation for disease surveillance, control and prevention.
Sarah-Jane Loveday, Head of Communications, FIND
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