Testing is the first line of defence
Testing is the first line of defence against COVID-19. It saves lives. It allows economies to reopen – and stay open. In the future, it will be vital for the introduction of vaccines and therapeutics.
Most importantly, it is actionable now: testing, tracing and isolating confirmed cases works.
Testing means a patient can be confirmed to have COVID-19, so that they can seek appropriate care, and self-isolate to break the chain of transmission. When we have a treatment, it will enable test-and-treat strategies to be implemented.
Testing means we know whether a treatment or other intervention is working as it should.
Testing means we understand who has been exposed to the virus so that we can build a picture of population immunity – which is essential for vaccine deployment.
Testing is the only way to identify flare ups and hotspots so that appropriate containment measures can be implemented.
Today, testing depends on well-resourced laboratory systems, using complex diagnostics – and even access to these tests is complicated by high prices, broken supply chains, and complex ordering systems. There is a supply chain war.
Countries with fragile health systems without strong laboratory networks are being left behind. As the virus gathers pace in India, South America and across the African continent, health systems will be swiftly overwhelmed.
While there are hundreds of tests in development, we still don’t have a simple, easy-to-use, affordable and reliable test that can be made available to everyone, everywhere.
FIND is Co-Convener of the ACT Accelerator Diagnostics Partnership, with The Global Fund. Together, we are coordinating stakeholders from across the globe to:
- Accelerate development of high performing, affordable rapid diagnostic tools, and create robust digital, data and analytics solutions
- Prepare markets to accelerate implementation through regulatory support, market shaping and manufacturing scale-up
- Support cost of test procurement and deployment in low- and middle-income countries unable to shoulder such costs on their own
- Strengthen health systems and build country capacity and preparedness for rapid and effective test implementation