NEW YORK — FIND, the global alliance for diagnostics, said on Thursday that it has awarded $7 million to four Asian companies to support their efforts to increase the availability of COVID-19 self-tests in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC).
According to the Swiss nonprofit, the funding will go to China's Acon Biotech, South Korea-based Osang Healthcare, Jiangsu BioPerfectus Technologies in China, and Premier Medical in India. FIND will also provide the companies with technical assistance and perform independent clinical evaluations of the tests they develop.
FIND said that the companies have committed to manufacturing up to 60 million COVID-19 self-tests per month and offering them in LMICs at $1 to $2 each. The organization said that all of the companies have tests in the final stages of development and have committed to submitting regulatory dossiers for evaluation by the World Health Organization.
Specifically, Acon will offer its Flowflex SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test for $1, with a minimum volume commitment of 30 million tests per month to be made available in LMICs. Osang will offer its GeneFinder COVID-19 Ag Self Test for $1.25, with a minimum volume commitment of 10 million tests per month to LMICs. Jiangsu BioPerfectus will price its BioPerfectus COVID-19 Ag Self-test Kit at $1.25, providing 10 million tests per month to LMICs, while Premier Medical will offer 10 million of its SureStatus COVID-19 Home Tests to LMICs at $2 apiece.
"Self-testing can uniquely empower people to take control of their health and has proved an important tool in the pandemic response in the Global North, but multiple barriers to access in LMICs means the Global South is being left behind yet again," Marta Fernández Suárez, chief technology officer of FIND, said in a statement. "The packages that these four companies are committing to are a major step towards making self-testing more accessible in LMICs, with volume commitments totaling at least 60 million tests per month and [ex-works] pricing that is half that of current HIV self-tests."
In December, FIND kicked off an effort to optimize diagnostics use in LMICs following an investment by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.