NEW YORK – The Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics announced on Monday that the Canadian government has awarded it C$20 million ($15.7 million) to help expand SARS-CoV-2 testing in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC).
The investment will facilitate the optimization of new rapid diagnostic tests for affordability and ease of use in such territories, FIND said, adding it will also generate evidence for use outside of clinical and laboratory settings and support the implementation of testing in primary care and community settings.
The investment was announced as part of an update on Canada's commitment to the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT), a global collaboration to hasten the development and access to tests, treatments, and vaccines for COVID-19.
In a statement, FIND said that effective testing strategies require a variety of different technologies, and while progress has been made since the pandemic to make COVID-19 rapid antigen tests available in LMIC, there remains a need for tests, including affordable self-tests, to help important parts of the economy remain open, such as border crossings, workplaces sports gatherings, and schools.
"Canada has long recognized the value of testing to provide equitable healthcare to the world's most vulnerable people," FIND CEO Catharina Boehme said in a statement. "The investment announced today will be crucial to ensuring that low- and middle-income countries have not only the tests they need, but also the evidence to support implementation of testing strategies that will enable people to live with COVID-19 until the pandemic is defeated globally."
In October, FIND received $60 million in the context of ACT to accelerate progress in tests and testing capacity for COVID-19.