A new test from the WHO could be a game changer in the fight against Covid | Charlotte Summers

Many nations lack access to affordable testing. Now 120m antigen tests will help tackle this dangerous inequality

The principles of managing infectious disease outbreaks, whether of measles, tuberculosis or Covid-19, are similar. You identify who has been infected by testing for the disease, discover where they acquired the infection and who may have also been infected through contact tracing, and stop the spread by asking those affected to isolate. People who become infected are treated with therapies that modify the course of the disease.

It sounds simple, doesn’t it? Now think how you might implement this strategy on a global scale, for a disease no one knew existed 12 months ago. This is where organisations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), which provides leadership, expertise and coordination, come in. Since early 2020, the WHO has been working with different groups to support the development of testing, tracing and isolation programmes for coronavirus. Rightly, it has advocated that everyone should have access to these things, no matter where in the world they live.

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