Good news for world’s pandemic battle: around 120 million rapid testing kits that detect COVID-19 will be rolled out around the world soon.
As part of a global incentive to get vital drugs and vaccines, ACT Accelerator (Access to COVID tools) will see both poor and rich countries receive tests that are cheap, effective and approved by the World Health Organisation.
ACT Accelerator was a global solidarity initiative launched in March by the WHO, the EU Commission, the Gates Foundation and the French government.
The high-quality tests look like pregnancy tests and give results after 15 to 20 minutes that are 97% accurate, according to the two producing companies.
This will significantly help healthcare workers in low-income countries like those in Africa, who are disproportionately dying from COVID-19 due to poor testing rates per capita.
Wealthier countries have also hopped on the bandwagon, with Germany already ordering 20 million antigen tests, while France and Switzerland are expected to follow suit.
Rapid antigen tests are different to PCR tests, which, if you have ever been tested in Malta for the virus, is the swab test that takes significantly more time for results to emerge. And while other antigen tests are available on the market, this is the first to get the stamp of approval from WHO.
The rapid nature of these tests could be a game-changer for how the world mitigates the coronavirus. They could be an effective way to screen people at public gatherings like schools, workplaces, concerts and so on, and allow authorities to isolate and investigate cases quicker than ever.
This will also be good news for the ways business operate, with more measures in place to allow people to convene.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Chris Fearne announced that Malta has received first shipments of COVID-19 rapid tests, and will be issuing directives on how these will be administered in the coming days.
Malta’s national airline AirMalta also called for COVID-19 rapid testing for passengers before all flight departures as an alternative to quarantine and to rebuild one of the worst-hit industries by COVID-19.
What do you think about the initiative?