17 August 2021
Testing is the first line of defense in the fight against COVID-19. Without testing, countries cannot track or contain the spread of the virus, address urgent clinical needs, test the efficacy of vaccines, or detect the emergence of new variants. To save lives and fight this pandemic, there is an urgent need to scale up testing and ensure immediate equitable access to diagnostic tools across the world.
Together with FIND, the Global Fund co-leads the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator’s (ACT-Accelerator) Diagnostics Pillar to support low- and middle-income countries to procure diagnostic tests, strengthen laboratory infrastructure and capacities, provide training and technical assistance, and develop new testing tools for resource-poor settings.
The emergence and circulation of new variants of COVID-19 highlight the urgent need to stop the spread of the pandemic everywhere. What’s more, investments in diagnostic testing strengthen health systems beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Diagnostic testing is – and will continue to be – the first line of defense of any pandemic response and a critical element of resilient and sustainable health systems. We must capitalize on the advances spurred by COVID-19 to reinforce the fight against other diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria, and help the world prepare for future pandemics.