SWITZERLAND.Geneva. WHO announced that it will make around 120 million Rapid Diagnostic Kits (RDT) for COVID-19 on Monday. The COVID-19 test kits will be made available to poorer countries at a rate of $5.
However, the WHO will require an amount of $600 million to prepare the kits. According to WHO, the $600 million scheme will enable low and middle-income countries to close the dramatic gap for the COVID-19 testing.
Rapid Diagnostic Kit for COVID-19 testing
The quick test kits will be distributed across 133 countries over the next six months. However, the rapid test kits are not as reliable as the regular PCR nasal swab tests. But, they are faster, cheaper and easier to use.
WHO director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a virtual press conference, “We have an agreement, we have seed funding and now we need the full amount of funds to buy these tests.”
The rapid test kits will provide reliable results in approximately 15-20 minutes at a very low price. This equipment will also be less sophisticated. This will help in the expansion of testing particularly in remote areas that lacks proper lab facilities.
The tests are being produced by two companies: US multinational Abbott Laboratories and South Korea-based SD BioSensor. The 120 million tests reflect 20 per cent of the firms’ manufacturing capacity. The other 80 per cent remain available for procurement.
Meanwhile, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has contributed $50 million to WHO.
Global Fund executive director, Peter Sands believes that the RDTs are a hugely valuable complement to PCR tests. In a press conference he said, “Although the RDTs are a bit less accurate, they’re much faster, cheaper and don’t require a lab.”
According to the reports, high-income countries were conducting 292 tests per day per 100,000 people. On the other hand, the lower-middle and low-income countries were conducting only 10-50 tests per day. The RDTs can be used in the places where PCR is unavailable and in places with widespread community transmission.