The World Health Organization, or WHO, announced on Monday that 120 million rapid tests for COVID-19 will be made available to low and middle income countries thanks to an agreement between the WHO and its partners.

The tests provide reliable results in approximately 15 to 30 minutes, rather than hours or days, at a lower price, with less sophisticated equipment, the WHO said.

“This will enable the expansion of testing, particularly in hard-to-reach areas that do not have lab facilities, or enough trained health workers to carry out PCR (polymerise chain reaction) tests,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual news conference from Geneva. “This is a vital addition to their testing capacity and is especially important in areas of high transmission.”

According to the WHO, volume guarantee agreements have been developed between two manufacturers and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which will make 120 million of the new highly portable and easy-to-use rapid diagnostic tests available over a period of six months.

The tests are currently priced at a maximum of $5 per unit, substantially cheaper than PCR tests.

“We expect the price to come down,” said Tedros, who last week was included in Time Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of 2020.

The quicker COVID-19 can be diagnosed, he said, the quicker action can be taken to treat and isolate those with the virus and trace their contacts.

Tedros admitted that currently, the project only has seed funding. “We need the full amount of funds to buy these tests,” he said, adding that the world has to raise an additional $35 billion for the ACT-Accelerator, a global initiative to speed up the development, production and equitably distribution of tests, drugs and vaccines for COVID-19.

By 3:52pm Geneva time on Monday, the WHO reported that globally there had been 33.04 million cases and 996,342 deaths from COVID-19.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Arsenal name former captain Mikel Arteta as head coach

Arsenal have named former club captain Mikel Arteta as the club’s new head coach. The Spaniard played for the Gunners for five seasons, between 2011 and 2016, making 150 appearances and picking up two FA Cup trophies along the way.…

Behind Miles Davis’s greatest album

Guitarist John McLaughlin, who helped electrify Miles Davis’s music, describes Bitches Brew as “Picasso in sound”. Stanley Nelson, who directed a new documentary on Davis, calls it “an all-out assault”, while Davis’s official biographer, Quincy Troupe, labels it “a cultural…

Coronavirus pandemic may cause EU to break up, says analyst

MOSCOW, March 23. /TASS/. The current coronavirus pandemic has forced the EU members to take off the masks, thus proving that no European solidarity exists and “each is for himself”, expert Igor Pshenichnikov, of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies,…

Italy looks ahead to ‘phase two’ as coronavirus death toll slows

Country reported 525 deaths on Sunday, the lowest number of fatalities in more than two weeks Officials face dilemma over when and how to ease lockdown, as restrictions show signs of curbing outbreak – but at enormous economic cost Italy…