The world has witnessed the roll out of multiple effective COVID-19 vaccines. Yet, COVID-19 continues to be an unprecedented challenge, unpinning societies, economies, and health systems. While vaccine campaigns are underway in high-income countries, there is an urgent need to ensure vaccines are prioritized for deployment in low- and middle-income countries. As new, potentially vaccine-resistant variants emerge worldwide, COVID-19 testing remains a critical piece of a country’s strategy to maintain epidemic control.
While testing capacity has increased substantially since COVID-19 first appeared, testing volumes are still insufficient in many countries. Fortunately, there are efforts ongoing by governments to expand the availability of test kits, including through the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, which aimed to procure 900 million diagnostic tests to deploy to low- and middle-income countries by April 2021. However, by June 2021, only 84 million tests had been procured, and supply has continued to lag far behind demand. But will increased supply be the total solution to the testing problem?