The World Health Organization will be providing millions of low-cost, rapid COVID-19 tests to low- and middle-income nations, Reuters reports.
According to the WHO, test makers Abbott and SD Biosensor came to an agreement to make 120 million antigen tests for the coronavirus available. These tests, the agency notes, provide results in 15 to 30 minutes and don't require lab facilities or highly trained workers. Under the agreement, the tests would have a maximum price of $5, it adds. As 360Dx reports, the WHO's Access to COVID-19 Tools-Accelerator program led the agreement, which includes organizations like the with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
"This will enable the expansion of testing, particularly in hard-to-reach areas that do not have laboratory facilities or enough trained health workers to carry out tests," WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a news conference, according to Reuters.
As BBC News adds, the deal encompasses 133 countries, many of which are in Latin America and have been hard hit by the pandemic.
More than 1 million people around the world have now died of COVID-19, CNN reports, and experts tell it that that number could double. It adds that Mike Ryan, head of WHO's emergencies program, says that reaching 2 million COVID-19 deaths is "certainly unimaginable ... but it's not impossible."