“The use of the GeneXpert platform, which although still not a true point of care test, revolutionised the diagnosis of M. tuberculosis complex, and how to use the platform is well known to laboratories across the globe, even in low- and middle-income countries,” said Dr Paula I Fujiwara, Scientific Director of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union).
Today, Tuesday 24 March is World TB Day. The GeneXpert® test is a molecular test for tuberculosis (TB) and diagnoses TB by detecting the presence of TB bacteria, as well as testing for resistance to the drug Rifampicin.
“Adapting the same platform for use with COVID-19 could be easily and rapidly done. The need for testing is immense as we still don’t know the true number of people who are infected in the world. The GeneXpert® platform could fill a crucial need, especially in low- and middle-income countries.
“The current limitation is the price of the test which currently sits at US$20. The recent analysis by MSF’s Access Campaign provides a cogent and well-reasoned argument for why and how the price can be reduced to approximately US$5, and still make money for Cepheid. A win-win situation for both the company and the people in need.”