Access to COVID-19 Diagnostics

Testing the right people, at the right moment and with the right tool is essential for the Covid-19 pandemic management. Both the Swiss international cooperation and the Swiss pharmaceutical sector have a long-standing experience and interest in supporting R&D, access and manufacturing of diagnostics.. The Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) is leading the global effort (ACT-A Dx Partnership) in the development of affordable COVID-19 diagnostics and local manufacturing capacity for and in LMICs.  

Pays/région Thème Période Budget
Monde entier
Emploi & développement économique
Maladies infectieuses
Renforcement des systèmes de santé
Politique commerciale & system de marché
01.09.2020 - 31.12.2023
CHF  26’000’000

The COVID-19 pandemic has become much more than a health crisis: the combination of the humanitarian catastrophe and an economic crisis will make it dramatically harder to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. On May 13 2020, the Swiss Federal Council approved an extraordinary credit for a global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. SDC is engaging various initiative in support to R&D and access to vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics for LMICs. The Federal Office of Public Health focuses on securing vaccines for the Swiss population.

Current estimates indicate that 500 million tests are needed over the next 12 months in low- and middle-income countries to enable such a life-saving scenario. Providing equitable access to affordable and efficient rapid diagnostics for LMICs is a public health emergency and in line with SDC mandate.. While laboratory-based tests already exist, their use is limited. Mass testing strategies depend on simple, high-performing rapid tests, preferably that can be administered right at the point of care or even at home. The global challenge is therefore two-fold: to develop new rapid diagnostic tests and to scale up the production of such reliable, affordable tests.

Launched in early April 2020, the ACT-A Diagnostic Partnership gathers major global health actors engaged on normative and operational R&D and Access policies for medical products. FIND and the Global Fund are leading this initiative. Together with the UK (DfID), Germany and Australia, Switzerland (SDC) is one of the main and early public donors that provided political support and pledged financial commitment to this new and innovative initiative. At the bilateral level, SDC has recently engaged interventions in Myanmar and in the Horn of Africa to support local supply of molecular tests for COVID-19. This global intervention complements SDC action on access to COVID-19 diagnostics for LMICs.

Various Swiss actors are involved in this endeavor: the Geneva-based Foundation for New Innovative Diagnostics (FIND) is leading this global initiative. Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) and UniSante are collecting samples and conducting antibody tests. Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève (HUG) is a critical evaluation site for nucleic acid tests. The EPFL Blue Brain Project is developing an Implementation Simulator to assess diagnostics needs according to each country and context.

Objectifs Accelerate universal and equitable access to safe, quality and effective COVID-19 diagnostics
Groupes cibles

-         Researchers and clinicians in LMICs.

-         The global research and development community for COVID-19.

-         Manufacturers, regulators and procurement agencies (UNICEF, Global
          Fund, etc.).

-        Patients and population at high risk for COVID-19.

Effets à moyen terme

1.    Local manufacturing capacity enhanced to meet regional demand

2.   Countries are able to utilize digital solutions as part of their COVID response


Principaux résultats attendus:  

-         Research and Development: Accelerate development and availability            of high performing, affordable rapid diagnostic tools, and create 
          robust digital, data and analytics solutions.

-         Market readiness: Implement market shaping interventions to
          accelerate implementation including assessment of product
          performance, validation of use-cases, support for manufacturing and
          commercialization, price negotiation, and in-country prioritization and
          regulatory support.

-         Supply: Identification of supply availability, demand aggregation and

          ensure efficient logistics and delivery.

-       Country capacity building: Strengthen health systems and build
        country capacity and preparedness for rapid and effective test

Principaux résultats antérieurs:   Not applicable. This is a new proposal.

Direction/office fédéral responsable DDC
Crédit Coopération au développement
Partenaire de projet Partenaire contractuel
ONG internationale ou étrangère
  • Other international or foreign NGO North
  • Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND)

Autres partenaires
Governments, NGOs, private sector
Coordination avec d'autres projets et acteurs The ACT-A initiative on therapeutics (Wellcome Trust) and vaccine (Gavi), the WHO Blue Print Project. The Global Fund, WHO
Budget Phase en cours Budget de la Suisse CHF    26’000’000 Budget suisse déjà attribué CHF    25’999’550