“Diagnostics constitutes the most significant funding gap within the ACT Accelerator”
Low testing rates and constrained access to vaccines – a deadly combination?
In this opinion piece Peter Sands, Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, and Emma Hannay, Find’s Chief Access Officer, argue for a global refocus on testing to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
They highlight the stark inequalities in COVID-19 testing between high-, middle- and low-income countries, saying that this can create conditions for a more severe and contagious mutation of SARS-COV-2 to emerge unnoticed.
The authors add that diagnostics constitutes the most significant funding gap within the ACT Accelerator.
- Germany offers a free test a week
- England offers two free tests a week
- Lower-income countries can only test 7 people for every 100 000
- For every test done in lower-income countries, high-income countries test 86 people
- According to a survey of 24 African countries, only 11% could offer rapid COVID-19 tests, and only 8% could provide PCR tests
- Globally, there is an $8.7-billion shortfall in testing and lab capacity. Box ends
“The low availability of testing, coupled with constrained access to vaccines, create a perfect environment for new, more contagious, and perhaps more deadly strains of the COVID-19 virus to emerge without initial notice, putting even vaccinated populations at risk” – Peter Sands and Emma Hannay.