The Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) have announced a new partnership to build capacity in readiness for the introduction of new, high-quality antigen rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for COVID-19 that are anticipated to become available soon.

Testing for COVID-19 remains a challenge on the continent and testing backlogs mean that results can take several days to reach patients, even in high-income countries.

The announcement builds on a long-standing relationship between the two organizations, and established links with local partners across the continent, which was recently formalised with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to drive access to essential diagnostics in Africa.

In a statement, CEO of FIND Dr Catharina Boehme says, “Fast, smooth and efficient rollout of affordable, accurate antigen RDTs will take the COVID-19 response to the next level.”

Boehme says, “With over 60 partners across Africa, we are committed to supporting Africa CDC to build technical capacity so that countries are ready to implement with no delay. Testing is not just our first line of defence against this pandemic, it is also the bedrock on which strong health systems are built. We congratulate Africa CDC for providing strong and effective leadership in testing.”

Director of Africa CDC, Dr John Nkengasong says, “Testing is the cornerstone of response to this pandemic, without testing we will be fighting blindly. But the testing strategy must shift as countries unlock their economies. We need to scale up testing and we need to improve the turnaround time for testing so that we can quickly identify, isolate and treat positive cases. This is where the RDTs play a very important role,”

 Below is the full statement: