Covid-19 tests that give results in 15 to 30 minutes are about to be rolled out across the world.
Approximately 120 million rapid antigen tests from two companies will be supplied to low- and middle-income countries for $5 (£3.90) each, with the intention of curbing the spread of the virus in poor countries.
Wealthier countries that have signed up to the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, such as the UK, will also be able to order the tests in the hope that they will help slow the effects of the pandemic.
One of the tests, from South Korean company SD BioSensor, has already received emergency approval from the World Health Organization (WHO), while the other, from US company Abbott, is expected to get it shortly.
The two companies are making 20% of their production available to low- and middle-income countries, while the other 80% will go to the rest. Germany has already ordered 20 million tests, with France and Switzerland following suit.
The WHO-approved rapid antigen tests are faster, easier and cheaper than the rapid virus tests the UK government is keen to get its hand on, and could be used for screening in schools, universities and workplaces.
The results of the tests, which look like a pregnancy test with two blue lines displayed for a positive result, will be read by health workers to allow for quick and easy screening.
The high-quality tests will also allow for mass screening of health workers, who are dying in disproportionate numbers while working on the frontlines in low income countries.
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Topics: Health, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Now, WHO, World Health Organization