The World Health Organization announced an agreement to make rapid Covid-19 tests available to lower and middle income countries across the world.
During a Monday news conference, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general said, “a substantial proportion of this rapid tests — 120 million — will be made available to low and middle income countries. These tests provide reliable results in approximately 15 to 30 minutes, rather than hours or days, at a lower price, with less sophisticated equipment.”
Tedros said these “vital” tests will help expand testing in remote areas, “that do not have lab facilities or enough trained health workers to carry out PCR tests.”
Peter Sands, executive director of the Global Fund said, “Being able to deploy quality antigen RDTs, rapid diagnostic tests, will be a significant step forward in enabling countries to contain and combat Covid-19.”
The tests are “not a silver bullet,” Sands said. “But hugely valuable as a complement to PCR tests.”
“Although they're a bit less accurate — they're much faster, cheaper, and don't require a lab,” he explained.
Sands said these tests will help low and middle income countries to “close the dramatic gap in testing between rich and poor countries.”
“Right now, high-income countries are conducting 292 tests per day per 100,000 people. For upper middle income countries, that number is 77. For lower middle income countries, 61, and from low income countries, 14,” Sands said, though he did not expand on where that data originates.