Add Resources - Scaling Up & Sustainability

FIND and Unitaid invest US$ 50 million to speed lifesaving testing and treatment solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic’s frontlines

To strengthen the frontline response against COVID-19 in several low- and middle-income countries, FIND and Unitaid made grants available in November 2021 to enhance testing and treatment. 

The grants aimed to contain the ongoing spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, improve access to diagnostic tests and treatment and build capacity for programmes to test, trace and isolate patients with COVID-19. 

The grants also addressed access inequality to tests and treatment and targeted countries in Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America and the Western Pacific, where testing capacity was insufficient and life-saving treatments were practically unavailable. 

Another aim of the grants is to generate evidence to strengthen World Health Organization (WHO) policies and guidelines. 

The grants will generate high-quality evidence to inform  WHO  guidelines and national policies addressing the optimal approaches to scaling new testing and treatment solutions.

The importance of combining testing and treating was underscored by the development of new oral antivirals, such as molnupiravir, as these are simple to use and deliver to healthcare settings, and less expensive to produce. Developing this strong link is essential when effective medication becomes available. 

The grants will use existing laboratory and testing networks to offer additional testing options, such as simple, accurate, and affordable antigen-detection rapid diagnostic tests (Ag RDTs) and COVID-19 self-tests. 

Featured Work - Awareness & Advocacy

FIND and Unitaid invest US$2 million to support advocacy for COVID-19 test-and-treat approaches in low- and middle-income countries

FIND, the global alliance for diagnostics and Unitaid are investing US$2 million in a coordinated advocacy programme spanning 19 low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) designed to boost access and uptake of COVID-19 tests and treatments. A total of 21 organizations with a diverse range of healthcare expertise have been selected from more than 300 applicants, following a request for proposals (RFP) and competitive selection process that included assessment by a panel of independent reviewers. Criteria for funding included previous public health advocacy experience and expected impact of test-and-treat advocacy in the targeted region.

Projects range in duration from 6 to 18 months, and will raise awareness of COVID-19 testing and treatment among the public, key opinion leaders, and specific high-risk and vulnerable groups. Partners include (listed alphabetically by country): Mhair Educational, Health and Human Rights Organization (Afghanistan), Family Planning Association of Bangladesh (Bangladesh), IMAG Communication (Burkina Faso), Maison des Associations de lutte contre le Sida (Burkina Faso), Health Poverty Action Cambodia (Cambodia), Caritas Développement Mbujimayi (Democratic Republic of the Congo), TB Alert India (India), Pi Consulting (India), Kenya AIDS NGOs Consortium (Kenya), Health Poverty Action Laos (Laos), Caritas Lesotho (Lesotho), ESTAMOS (Mozambique), REDTRANS (Nicaragua), Shifa Foundation (Pakistan), Media for Deaf Rwanda (Rwanda), South Sudan Community Change Agency (South Sudan), Sikika (Tanzania), Université Mahmoud El Materi (Tunisia), HEPS (Uganda), Zambia Interfaith Working Group (Zambia), Pan-African Treatment Access Movement (Zimbabwe).

Resource Centre - Media & Press

Global Fund, United States and Unitaid Launch “Test-and-Treat” Programs at Second Global COVID-⁠19 Summit

Why do we not use antibody tests to diagnose COVID-19 infections?

Checking for antibodies is not the most accurate indicator of the presence of a SARS-COV-2 infection.

What are antibody tests?

This article explains the role antibody tests are playing in fighting the pandemic. 

Antibodies neutralize foreign cells the body sees as a threat. Most COVID-19 vaccines trigger the body to produce antibodies against the spike protein in the SARS-COV-2 virus. 

The spike protein is a molecule found on the surface of the virus, and it helps the virus to enter the host cells and spread from there. 

Why can’t we use antibody testing to measure vaccine efficacy?

COVID-19 serology tests were designed early in the pandemic to detect only a few antibodies generated by natural infection, not vaccine-induced immunity.

They detect antibodies produced to fight the protein capsule around the virus and not the spike protein, while most COVID-19 vaccines introduce the body to small amounts of the genetic material in the spike protein to elicit an immune reaction.

Can antibody testing determine if a vaccine worked?

Not precisely. It takes around two weeks for the body to generate antibodies after COVID-19 vaccination, so even tests to detect the “right” antibody could be negative in the first few weeks after vaccination. 

Can antibody tests be wrong?

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended that antibody testing not be used to evaluate either immunity levels or protection levels from SARS-COV-2.

Why still do antibody tests?

Data from antibody tests are helpful for surveillance studies. In these studies, large numbers of people in a community are tested. These studies estimate how many people were infected in the past and how fast the virus spreads. 

Resource Centre - Reports

ACT-Accelerator Facilitation Council Working Group Report on Diagnostics and Therapeutics

The COVID-19 pandemic requires a complete public health response that spans non-pharmaceutical interventions and medical countermeasures to mitigate the impact of the virus on lives and livelihoods. Despite this need, the equitable roll-out of COVID-19 diagnostics and therapeutics continues to be inadequate and threatens to undo public health gains achieved throughout the pandemic.

This report’s central premise is that diagnostics and therapeutics, and associated test to treat strategies, are fundamental components of the pandemic response, both for COVID-19 and for future health threats. Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, this report reflects on the main challenges and key solutions on the road to equitable access to diagnostics and therapeutics.

This report draws from experience gained through the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator Diagnostics and Therapeutics pillars, and includes the perspectives of collaborating stakeholders (countries, civil society representatives and the private sector). Building on these findings, this report proposes sixteen recommended actions to address what have been identified as key structural challenges and specifies a potential owner for each action. The report offers a potential high-level roadmap of where efforts should be concentrated to support country-level decision-making.

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