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World Health Organization, FIND Strengthen Diagnostics Access Partnership

NEW YORK – The World Health Organization and global diagnostics nonprofit FIND announced Tuesday that they have signed a memorandum of understanding to formalize a partnership for hastening innovation and access to quality diagnostics.

The WHO's World Health Assembly issued a resolution last year to support improving access to all types of diagnostics. FIND has also collaborated with the WHO in the past, including serving as co-lead of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator diagnostics pillar.

"This MoU is a recognition of a longstanding relationship between FIND and WHO," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, said in a statement. "It is much more than a formalization of our collaboration, as it opens new avenues to jointly work together, save lives, and improve health," he added.

The new agreement is a step change in a strengthened partnership, WHO and FIND said in a statement, aimed to speed up both innovation and access to diagnostics and support countries to implement the WHA resolution. It establishes FIND as the key strategic partner for diagnostics to address antimicrobial resistance, infectious diseases such as HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis, and noncommunicable diseases like hypertension, heart disease, cervical cancer, and diabetes.

The two organizations will also develop pathways to share knowledge and scale up activities to accelerate access diagnostics.

"At a time when there has been three cases of H5N1 avian flu spillover events from cows to humans in the last month and an outbreak of mpox in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the importance of diagnostic testing to identify outbreaks and quash them before they become major epidemics or even pandemics has never been more critical," said Ayoade Alakija, board chair of FIND.

WHO last year also introduced a pilot initiative to create an Expert Review Panel for Diagnostic Products, or ERPD, for neglected tropical diseases.