The Global Fund is working closely with key partners, international organizations, governments and technical agencies through a World Health Organization-led consortium to rapidly and equitably support access to COVID-19 health products and diagnostics for low- and middle-income countries. Key resources on procuring diagnostics are below.
Providing a COVID-19 test to all those who need it requires rapid expansion of diagnostic testing capacity. Facilitating access to testing is the priority of the ACT-Accelerator Diagnostics Pillar, which is co-convened by the Global Fund. Antigen rapid diagnostics tests (Ag RDTs) that detect the presence of COVID-19 infection (SARS-COV-2) that were released on the market in the initial stages were unreliable, but there are now two reader-free Ag RDTs which perform well. WHO published the interim guidance Antigen-Detection in the Diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 Infection Using Rapid Immunoassays on 11 September 2020.
In order to detect SARS-COV-2, laboratories have been mainly using nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) such as real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) assays. While this method has been highly reliable, it also comes with a certain cost and time investment and many countries face challenges in access to this form of testing.
Ag RDTs therefore represent a significant step forward in reinforcing the effectiveness of COVID-19 response strategies because of their low cost of approximately US$5 per test, turnaround of results within 30 minutes and without the need to rely on laboratory instruments.
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests continue to play an essential role in the COVID-19 response strategy per WHO’s guidance. The Global Fund encourages implementing countries to move swiftly and prepare to strategically deploy Ag RDTs as well.
The Global Fund will make SARS-CoV-2 Ag RDTs available for procurement to countries through its funding mechanisms when:
The SD Biosensor Standard Q COVID-19 Ag Test and Abbott Panbio COVID-19 Ag Rapid Test Device are currently available for procurement and commercially available to low- and middle-income countries via the Global Fund’s Pooled Procurement Mechanism. Principal Recipients who are not participating in the Global Fund’s Pooled Procurement Mechanism should contact and their Country Team.
Governments and non-governmental organizations in Global Fund-eligible and transitioned countries can also procure SARS-CoV-2 Ag RDTs tests using non-Global Fund sources of funding through wambo.org by contacting or through other procurement channels.
Following the initial allocation of diagnostics tests for COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction) from major manufacturers to 140 countries for the May to August 2020 period, WHO has updated the test allocation for September 2020 to February 2021.
The allocation methodology calculates each country’s minimum available volumes by taking each country’s population and adjusting for both vulnerability and epidemiology to support countries with more fragile health systems and/or severe outbreaks, while factoring constraints due to monthly polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing capacity, if applicable. The vulnerability adjustment is based on the WHO Universal Health Coverage Index and epidemiology is calculated from confirmed cases per population.
WHO has communicated the total volumes available through their country offices and are contained in the list:
In addition, volumes of Abbott and Roche PCR Tests are available for procurement. More information on accessing these tests is provided in the Frequently Asked Questions [ download in English | Español | Français | Português ] .
The WHO allocation model for September 2020 to February 2021 considers any test volumes procured above equitable allocation, either directly with manufacturers or with organizations, to ensure there is equitable distribution of tests to countries.
Today, there is enormous global demand and limited supply availability for diagnosis of COVID-19. Given the challenges in securing these diagnostic products, the Global Fund will follow the WHO allocation model for all its implementing countries and allow the use of grant funds, including COVID-19 Response Mechanism funds, for the purchase of diagnostic products up to the allocation amount. The total number of tests allocated to a country covers all sources of funding to deliver on the intent of WHO allocation to ensure equitable access to low- and middle-income countries. If volumes are accessed through other sources, the Global Fund will consider these as part of the allocation. Available volumes are likely to be lower than demand, and the Global Fund will work closely with manufacturers to quickly allocate any additional volumes that become available.
Principal Recipients with approved funding should submit a request for procurement of these tests through wambo.org or, if not registered to wambo.org, they may contact and their Country Team.
Governments in Global Fund-eligible and transitioned countries can also procure tests using non-Global Fund sources of funding through wambo.org, or through the other procurement partners of the Diagnostics Consortium. If interested in using wambo.org, contact for more information.
Where there is a Diagnostics Consortium allocation such as for Cepheid tests, requisitions should be submitted for quantities not greater than the allocation quantity. For further information on the availability of tests for the other platforms, Principal Recipients should contact their Principal Recipient Services focal point in Supply Operations Department or their Country Team.