A new COVID Treatment Quick Start Consortium is being launched this week, as part of efforts to support Ministries of Health in 10 low- and middle-income countries to immediately provide rapid testing and oral antiviral treatments for high-risk patients and scale up wider access through 2023 as the government programmes move from launch to scale.
At the high-level event, global health leaders will discuss the 10-country project aimed at providing COVID antivirals and Testing capacity for high-risk patients in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.
This development is coming as the new Omicron BA.5 COVID-19 subvariant emerges as the primary source of COVID infections, according to the World Health Organisation
Details of the first pilot programme to test and treat high-risk COVID-19 patients in Nigeria, eight other countries in sub-Saharan Africa and one in Southeast Asia will be announced during the launch.
Besides Nigeria, the countries to be targeted include Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Laos.
The programme aims to demonstrate that enhancing timely access to diagnostics and low-cost antivirals can be a viable long-term solution to help end the COVID pandemic.
The Consortium brings together the partner countries with the Duke University, the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), COVID Collaborative, and Americares as implementing partners, with support from the Open Society Foundations (OSF), Pfizer and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.
The consortium will support governments to introduce and scale up access to new and effective COVID-19 oral antiviral therapies in high-risk populations.