As a co-convener of the ACT-Accelerator’s Diagnostics Pillar, the Global Fund is working closely with key partners, international organizations, governments and technical agencies to rapidly and equitably support access to COVID-19 health products and diagnostics tools for low- and middle-income countries. Key resources on procuring and running diagnostics are below.
Providing a COVID-19 test to all those who need it requires rapid expansion of diagnostic testing capacity. Facilitating access to testing is the priority of the ACT-Accelerator Diagnostics Pillar, which is co-convened by the Global Fund. Antigen rapid diagnostics tests (Ag RDTs) that detect the presence of COVID-19 infection (SARS-COV-2) that were released on the market in the initial stages were unreliable, but there are now three reader-free Ag RDTs that perform well. WHO published the interim guidance Antigen-Detection in the Diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 Infection Using Rapid Immunoassays on 11 September 2020.
In order to detect SARS-COV-2, laboratories have been mainly using nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) such as real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) assays. While this method has been highly reliable, it also comes with a certain cost and time investment and many countries face challenges in access to this form of testing.
Ag RDTs therefore represent a significant step forward in reinforcing the effectiveness of COVID-19 response strategies because of their low cost of approximately US$4 per test, turnaround of results within 30 minutes and without the need to rely on laboratory instruments.
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests continue to play an essential role in the COVID-19 response strategy per WHO’s guidance. The Global Fund encourages implementing countries to move swiftly and prepare to strategically deploy Ag RDTs as well.
The Global Fund will make SARS-CoV-2 Ag RDTs available for procurement to countries through its funding mechanisms when:
The SD Biosensor Standard Q COVID-19 Ag Test, Abbott Panbio COVID-19 Ag Test Device and Premier Medical Sure Status COVID-19 Antigen Card Test are currently available for procurement and commercially available to low- and middle-income countries via the Global Fund’s Pooled Procurement Mechanism. Principal Recipients who are not participating in the Global Fund’s Pooled Procurement Mechanism should contact and their Country Team.
Governments and non-governmental organizations in Global Fund-eligible and transitioned countries can also procure SARS-CoV-2 Ag RDTs tests using non-Global Fund sources of funding through wambo.org by contacting or through other procurement channels.
Today, there remains enormous global demand and limited supply availability for the diagnosis of COVID-19. Given the challenges in securing these diagnostic products, the Global Fund will work closely with the Coordinated Procurement Group of the Diagnostics Consortium to equitably fulfill demand from countries through close monitoring of the supply and demand pipeline.
Principal Recipients with approved funding should submit a request to procure tests through wambo.org or, if not registered to wambo.org, they may contact and their Country Team.
Governments in Global Fund-eligible and transitioned countries can also procure tests using non-Global Fund sources of funding through wambo.org, or through the other procurement partners of the Diagnostics Consortium. If interested in using wambo.org, contact email@example.com for more information.
For further information on the availability of tests for the other platforms, Principal Recipients should contact their Principal Recipient Services focal point in the Supply Operations Department or their Country Team.
Documents related to prior SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic volume allocations are available for download here.
Prior SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic volume allocations2