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Global Fund, United States and Unitaid Launch “Test-and-Treat” Programs at Second Global COVID-⁠19 Summit

12 May 2022

GENEVA, WASHINGTON – The Global Fund, the United States and Unitaid, together with FIND and other ACT-Accelerator partners, are launching over US$120 million in support to countries for test-and-treat programs to prevent hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 for those most at risk in low- and middle-income countries. The announcement was made at the Second Global COVID-⁠19 Summit, which placed an emphasis on supporting locally led solutions to both immediate and long-term challenges, including the deployment of tests and treatments, especially for the highest-risk populations.

Test-and-treat programs will save lives, reduce global inequities in access to COVID-19 testing and treatment, help strengthen formal and community systems for health in low- and middle-income countries, protect front-line health workers, and mitigate the knock-on impact of COVID-19 on programs to fight HIV, TB and malaria.

The Global Fund will procure up to US$80 million in COVID-19 rapid test kits and oral antiviral drugs, and USAID will provide US$20 million in technical assistance for piloting test-and-treat fast-paced implementation in eight countries. Unitaid will provide an additional US$22 million to expand and accelerate the introduction of new treatments through the ongoing Unitaid–FIND early-adoption test-and-treat programs launched in late 2021. These combined investments of US$122 million will support test-and-treat implementation in over 20 low- and middle-income countries globally.

“Getting more people to test for the virus is fundamental to containing transmission, identifying the emergence of variants and getting people on new treatments,” said Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund. “We are extremely grateful to the United States and ACT-Accelerator partners for their renewed commitment to support the global response to the pandemic. Successful test-and-treat programs can save many lives, but success will require scaling up testing, deploying new COVID-19 antiviral drugs, and ramping up technical assistance to enable those most at risk to gain rapid access to tests and treatments.” 

“This new co-investment is a critical step toward equitable access to optimal treatment alongside adequate tests for those at high risk of developing severe or critical COVID-19 in low-resource settings,” said Unitaid Executive Director Dr. Philippe Duneton. “We now have treatment options that can prevent hospitalizations and deaths and will be key in the response to the pandemic. Supporting countries in securing access for these emerging options, as well as their deployment in the most effective way, is our priority.”

Through the COVID-19 Response Mechanism, the Global Fund is the primary channel for providing grant support to low- and middle-income countries for COVID-19 tests, treatments (including medical oxygen), personal protective equipment and critical elements of health systems strengthening. In 2021, the United States committed US$3.5 billion to the Global Fund’s COVID-19 Response Mechanism to help low- and middle-income countries respond to the pandemic, mitigate its impact on HIV, TB and malaria services, and make urgent improvements to health systems.

The Global Fund is a founding partner of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-Accelerator). This global collaboration of leading public health agencies is working with governments, civil society and industry to accelerate the development and equitable distribution of tests, treatments and vaccines – and the strengthening of health systems – that the world needs to fight COVID-19. The Global Fund is co-leading on three of the ACT-Accelerator’s four components – the Diagnostics Pillar, the Therapeutics Pillar and the Health Systems & Response Connector.

U.S. President Joe Biden will host the Global Fund’s Seventh Replenishment conference later this year. The Global Fund’s target is to raise at least US$18 billion to fund its next three-year cycle of grants. A successful Replenishment will save 20 million lives, cut the death rate from HIV, TB and malaria by 64% and strengthen systems for health to build a healthier, more equitable world.