To address the lack of access to tests and testing services in multiple countries, WHO since 2018 has published a yearly essential diagnostics list (EDL), a basket of recommended in vitro diagnostics that should be available at point-of-care and in laboratories in all countries to increase timely and life-saving diagnoses.

The latest edition, published today, includes WHO-recommended COVID-19 tests (PCR and Antigen), expands the suite of tests for vaccine-preventable and infectious diseases and non-communicable diseases (such as cancer and diabetes), and introduces a section on endocrinology, which is important for reproductive and women’s health. For the first time, the list includes tests that should not be supplied in countries, either because they are not cost-effective, are unreliable or have been surpassed by newer, easier to use technologies.

‘Access to quality tests and laboratory services is like having a good radar system that gets you where you need to go. Without it, you’re flying blind,’ said WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. ‘All countries should pay particular attention to the diagnostics space and use the essential list to promote better health, keep their populations safe, and serve the vulnerable…more