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To improve access to diagnostics, countries must adapt the WHO essential diagnostics list

1 February 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has shown the world the critical importance of early and rapid diagnosis, for clinical management of illness as well as for containing outbreaks.  On 29 January, the World Health Organisation (WHO) released the third edition of its Model List of Essential In Vitro Diagnostics (EDL). It includes WHO-recommended Covid-19 tests, expands the suite of tests for vaccine-preventable and infectious diseases and non-communicable diseases, and introduces a section on endocrinology. Sadia Shakoor, Associate Professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the Ag​a Khan University in Pakistan, commented: "The WHO EDL will have to be adapted to local needs and requirements so as to ensure that the right diagnostic test gets to the right patient at the right time. This will need buy-in from provincial health departments and from communities - medical, professional, and social - to ensure uptake of recommendations."