NEW YORK – The Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics announced on Monday that Abbott has donated 450,000 rapid diagnostic tests for sleeping sickness to scale up testing for the disease in sub-Saharan Africa.
FIND and Abbott have been working since 2010 to develop a rapid test for the disease, also known as human African trypanosomiasis, which is endemic to 36 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and is transmitted by tsetse flies, FIND said in a statement. The chronic disease affects the central nervous system and can be fatal if left untreated.
It is also one of the neglected tropical diseases, or NTDs, targeted for elimination by 2030 in the World Health Organization's 2021-2030 NTD roadmap.
Abbott's SD Bioline HAT test can be performed by healthcare workers with minimal training and requires a finger prick blood sample to return results in 15 minutes, FIND said. It will distribute 150,000 tests in Chad, Guinea, Ivory Coast, South Sudan, and Uganda as part of the Trypa-NO! partnership with the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. Two additional countries will be added to the partnership soon, FIND said.
The nonprofit will also deliver tests to Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Tests will also be distributed by the WHO and the Institute of Tropical Medicine.
"With almost half a million new tests for sleeping sickness, we will be able to drastically scale up screening efforts and bring the world closer to meeting the global elimination target," Joseph Ndung'u, executive director of FIND Kenya, said in a statement.