Rapid virus test prices 'halved' for poorer nations

Rapid virus test prices 'halved' for poorer nations

Friday, January 22, 2021

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GENEVA,Switzerland(AFP)— Poorer countries will have access to hundreds of millions more rapid COVID-19 tests following a deal to slash prices in half and boost production, Unitaid said on Friday.

The international health agency and the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) closed a deal with an Indian firm to produce up to 120 million tests this year for low- and middle-income countries, to be sold at half the going price of US$5.

Unitaid and FIND said similar deals to be announced in the coming weeks would ensure the supply of more than half of the 500 million rapid tests that experts say they will need this year.

Less precise but far faster and cheaper than other forms of COVID-19 diagnosis, rapid antigen tests are considered an important weapon in the pandemic battle.

This is particularly the case in poorer settings, where there is generally less access to PCR nasal swabs and the sophisticated lab equipment needed to analyse them.

While high-income countries are currently conducting some 252 such tests per 100,000 people per day, the rate is more than 10 times lower in low- and middle-income countries, Unitaid spokesman Herve Verhoosel said.

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