Upcoming events on testing for COVID-19

Even as lockdowns start to ease around the world, our community is finding a new rhythm of remote working, with major conferences, events, and training programmes going virtual.

I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you some highlights coming up in the near future.

Next Monday (22 June) we are co-hosting an event in partnership with Women Political Leaders and the G20 Health and Development Partnership. “Test to Exit COVID-19” will provide a virtual public forum for women political leaders to come together from around the world as champions for testing to beat the pandemic. Speakers include Aminata Touré (former Prime Minister of Senegal), Gro Harlem Brundtland (former Prime Minister of Norway, and former Director General of WHO) and H.E. Amira Elfadil Mohammed Elfadil (Social Affairs Commissioner African Union). The event will take place over Zoom, sign up here.

Global Citizen and the European Commission recently announced a new campaign, Global Goal: Unite for Our Future, with the aim of ensuring that everyone, everywhere in the world, has access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines. We are gearing up for a star-studded event on 27 June – be sure to watch for updates on our social media channels.

We are also looking forward to the first virtual AIDS2020 conference, which will take place 6–10 July with a focus on the impact of COVID-19 on HIV care. A FIND-led session will highlight the need for continued simplification of care pathways to promote access to hepatitis C virus (HCV) services, and the promise of self-testing.

The first run back in April of the online training on diagnosis and testing for COVID-19 that we developed with LSHTM and ASLM attracted over 16,000 registrations. With the landscape changing so fast, we have updated the content and a second run just launched on 15 June. Sign up for free here and do spread the word among your networks. Additional runs of this course are planned, including in French and other languages to follow.

Besides online courses, FIND has developed and made available on a dedicated microsite a number of tools that can support the global response. A diagnostic implementation simulator was created in partnership with the EPFL Blue Brain Project and Ateneo de Manila University, using modeling data to estimate the potential impact of different testing strategies. Our SARS-CoV-2 test tracker is updated daily, providing a global picture of the number of tests reported to have been conducted around the world.

From this turbulent period new partnerships have formed, and collaborative research and data sharing is gaining ground. While there can still be a few technical hiccups to overcome online, one upside is that many activities can now reach much wider audiences, and I do hope that is a change that is here to stay.