The tests that detect COVID-19 that reflect the results between 15 and 30 minutes will be available worldwide in a short time, reported The Guardian.
The initiative can save many people’s lives and slow down the pandemic in both underdeveloped and developed countries.
In March, the initiative was launched by the WHO, the European Commission, the Gates Foundation, and the French government.
As a triumph for a global initiative to obtain life-saving drugs and vaccines to fight the virus, 120 million rapid antigen tests from two companies will be provided to low- and middle-income countries for $5 each or even less.
The tests, which look like a pregnancy test, with two blue lines displayed for positive, will be read by a health worker. One test has been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), and the other is expected to be approved shortly.
In return for a volume guarantee from the Gates Foundation, companies make 20% of their production available to low- and middle-income countries and 80% to the rest. Germany has already ordered 20m tests, and France and Switzerland are following suit. The UK government is also keen to obtain rapid viral tests.
Catharina Boehme, CEO of the non-profit Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), a key player in the initiative, said she quickly placed bulk orders for the tests to guarantee equal distribution to the low- and middle-income countries to curb the global rush for rapid tests, as they did when PCR testing came out. “We see the supply pressure increase rapidly. That is why we need this guaranteed volume. We needed to secure the tests for low- and middle-income countries before all other countries placed their orders and poor people lost again.
“For us, the message is unprecedented collaboration. We are truly in a position to show what can be accomplished when the world and the world’s major health partners come together around a common priority.”
The African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, the Global Fund, and Unitaid are also part of the partnership that struck this agreement.