Strategic diagnostic laboratory testing is a cornerstone of the management of the COVID-19 pandemic. Detecting cases is essential for interrupting disease transmission and is done by tracking virus and variants circulation, isolating infected individuals, informing the level of care and notifying the public on cases.
Laboratory testing is an ongoing effort that requires surge support to address variants and strengthen capacity and supply chains. There is also a need for a surge in testing equipment, for both PCR and rapid antigen-detection tests (Ag-RDTs) tests. WHOF is focusing on projects, programmes and innovations which can strengthen laboratories and boost testing capacity in regions that need it the most.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, WHO has emphasized the importance of diagnostic testing as part of a comprehensive strategy to control COVID-19. In early 2020, a COVID-19 Reference Laboratory Network was established to strengthen global diagnostic capacity WHO continues to provide labs around the world with the supplies they need, while strengthening capacities at regional, national and subnational level.