Implementing COVID-19 tests in India

What are the projects?

FIND is increasing access to effective, accurate, easy-to-use, and affordable COVID-19 tests, optimizing placement of existing and new diagnostics, overcoming supply-chain hurdles, and boosting health staff training to meet India’s testing needs and strengthen the country’s pandemic preparedness infrastructure.


Why are we working on it?

COVID-19 has underscored the increased need to build capacity within India’s healthcare system to rapidly test and trace infections. The Government of India has played an important role in curtailing SARS-CoV-2 transmission, yet accurate diagnosis has emerged as a critical bottleneck in the country’s strategic response.

Currently there are several new tests available on the market, including high-accuracy antigen tests and high-throughput molecular (RT-PCR) technologies.

What does it involve?

FIND is working to provide essential COVID-19 tests, consumables, and machines across the health system in India. FIND allocated approximately USD 1 million to India during the “second wave” to ensure procurement and distribution of high throughput COVID-19 testing machines and ancillary testing equipment. Further, FIND is:

  1. Conducting independent evaluation of COVID-19 tests: FIND has established three trial sites to evaluate antigen testing kits, including Abbott Panbio, Standard Q, Standard F, and the PMC kit. FIND is also conducting an operational feasibility of the new Tata MD CHECK™ test (a CRISPR based test).
  2. Enhancing diagnostics: FIND is currently supporting the provision of over 170 diagnostic tools, including GeneXpert machines, RT PCRs, sequencers, and personal protective equipment (PPE) kits, across India. Previously, FIND provided over 20 testing tools, >52,000 COVID-19 RT-PCR tests and more than 24,000 extraction reactions to 23 sites across 10 states.
  3. Strengthening India’s laboratory capacity: FIND has been conducting online and onsite trainings capacitating more than 1400 laboratory personnel from both public and private sector COVID-19 laboratories.
  4. Supporting COVID-19 testing: FIND is conducting COVID-19 testing and simultaneous testing of presumptive tuberculosis patients, using Truenat™. To date, approximately 17,000 COVID-19 tests have been conducted. FIND has also demonstrated strategies that ensure the continuity of general health services while maintaining vigilance on infection rates using high-quality, WHO-approved COVID-19 rapid tests.
  5. Decentralizing models of COVID-19 sequencing: FIND is establishing three micro labs across various settings to ramp-up India’s sequencing capacity.
  6. Supporting end-to end diagnostic enhancement: FIND is providing technical assistance to several states on critical elements of testing, including capacity building of laboratory staff and online self-learning courses; carrying out optimized and predictive modelling of diagnostic capacities to enable forecasting; identifying gaps in testing capacities by conducting situational analysis and providing technical support in bridging those gaps; and offering digital solutions for automation of testing processes as well as data management for rapid antigen tests.

What is the time scale?

Our work on COVID-19 began in March 2021.


Partners and funding

Our COVID-19 work has been/is funded by The Global Fund, USAID (via JHPIEGO), PepsiCo India, Optum Global Solutions, Tetra Pak India, and the Rockefeller Foundation (via PATH).

Our partners include: African Society for Laboratory Medicine, Apollo Hospitals, Bhatinda District Hospital, Confluence for Health Action and Transformation Foundation, CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, King’s Geoge Medical University, King Edward Memorial Hospital, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Madras Medical College, Madurai Medical College, Mahajan Imaging, Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, National Institute of Immunology, National TB Elimination Programme, Ospedale San Raffaele, PATH, PanIIT Alumni Reach For India Foundation, Translational Health Science and Technology Institute, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Access to COVID-19 Tools – Accelerator

More information