Solving COVID

Rapid coronavirus tests will soon be delivered to lower income countries after WHO approval

September 28, 2020

Low- and middle-income countries should expect a boost in coronavirus testing soon, The Guardian reports.

Rapid and affordable coronavirus antigen tests from two different companies — SD BioSensor in South Korea and Abbott in the U.S. — will soon be distributed across the world as part of the global Access to Covid Tools initiative, which was launched in March by the World Health Organization, the European commission, the Gates Foundation, and the French government. The WHO has granted BioSensor's test emergency approval and is expected to do so for Abbott's in the near future, with 20 percent of their production going to lower income countries.

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The WHO's Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove explained Monday that the tests are crucial because of their turnaround time, which is just 15 to 30 minutes, and the fact that they don't need to be taken to labs to determine a result. Faster testing will likely play a significant role in helping countries, especially those that currently have less access to reliable diagnostic tools, combat all aspects of the pandemic.

Antigen tests aren't always accurate, but they should pick up most cases, especially during the right timeframe, and their ease of use allows for more regular testing, which lowers the risk of a false result. Read more at The Guardian. Tim O'Donnell

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