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Rapid tests need more investment - academy

Thursday April 20th, 2017

Greater priority should be given to the development of rapid diagnostic tests, according to a major report from UK medical scientists published today.

Rapid tests would help in tackling antibiotic resistance - and could play a key role in tackling emerging diseases, according to the report from the UK Academy of Medical Sciences.

The world needs a new international body to coordinate research and development and make the case for development of testing, according to the report.

Currently rapid diagnosis has a low profile and lacks investment, the report says.

It could play a key role in monitoring and controlling emerging infections such as the Zika virus and pandemic influenza, the report says.

The proposal emerged from a workshop involving scientists and clinicians from 56 countries.

Professor Sanjeev Krishna, a fellow of the academy, said: “Diagnostics save lives – doctors cannot treat a disease properly unless they know what it is. Rapid diagnostic tests are also essential for tackling major healthcare challenges, such as controlling emerging diseases and reducing antibiotic resistance.

"We need diagnostics to move into the spotlight, taking their rightful place as a priority alongside drugs and vaccines to improve global health.

"Governments around the world will need to prioritise development and implementation of rapid diagnostics, while a new international body is needed to help coordinate global efforts."

He added: "We have seen great successes with rapid diagnostic tests for malaria, HIV and TB, but we need to do more to build on this.

"Rapid diagnostics tests that can work in real world conditions and can be operated with minimum training could completely transform the way we treat patients, but we need the political will, financial incentive and coordination of effort to move forwards."

Tags: Flu & Viruses | UK News | World Health

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