The latest ACDx webinar gave insights on the evolution of the diagnostic testing to get out of the pandemic

September 16, 2021 - Global


How has the diagnosis of COVID-19 evolved to cope with this pandemic and return to normal life? How to adapt regulatory frameworks to facilitate access to diagnostic tests? What are the main strategies for detecting SARS-CoV-2 variants?

A webinar, co-organized by the Mérieux Foundation and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) on September 15, addressed these questions explaining the importance of the evaluation of the diagnostic tests launched on the market, the different ways to facilitate access to quality tests and the key role of genomic surveillance to monitor SARS-CoV variants.

This virtual event, moderated by Dr. Alexandre Costa from UNICEF and Prof. Rosanna Peeling from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), brought together speakers from Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America as representatives of a global diagnostics community.

Thank you to the following lecturers:

  • Dr. Daniel Bausch, Director of emerging threats & global health security, FIND
  • Mr. Joseph Bennie, Head of Department, Medical Devices Dept., Food and Drugs Authority, Ghana
  • Dr. Joe Fitchett, Senior Adviser for Special Projects at the Institut Pasteur de Dakar Delivery Unit, Senegal
  • Dr. Pamela Gaspar, member of the Brazilian Quality Program Assessment of Coronavirus test
  • Dr. Gerald Mboowa, implementation science expert for Bioinformatics at the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Prof. Rosanna Peeling, Professor and Chair, Diagnostics Research Director, International Diagnostics Centre, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
  • Prof. Sylvie van der Werf, Professor at the University of Paris and Head of the Molecular Genetics of RNA Viruses laboratory at the Institut Pasteur of Paris
  • Dr. Sidney Yee, CEO of Diagnostics Development Hub in Singapore and co-chair of ASEAN Dx Initiative

119 participants (36% from Europe, 25% from Asia, 25% from Africa, 9% from Latin America and 5% from North America) from 37 countries were able to attend the webinar. The discussion highlighted that the evaluation of diagnostic tests performance by independent bodies is important because of the number of tests with low performances. Thanks to innovation and a more flexible regulatory framework, diagnostic tests can be used at community level to allow populations to return to normal activities (school, work, leisure time) but as said by Prof. Sylvie van der Werf “genomic surveillance is key for real time monitoring of SARS-CoV variants”.

As concluded by Dr. Alex Costa, many challenges remain but “all the representatives of the diagnostics community have the responsibility to inform, educate and advocate for diagnostics to improve the access of diagnostic tests locally. Effective pandemic response should integrate diagnostics, vaccine, drugs and health system strengthening”.

Watch the full webinar retransmission:


  • 1’45 – 5’40: Introduction, by Dr. Alex Costa
  • 5’41 – 19’36: COVID-19 Dx Pipeline and Performance Evaluation, by Dr. Daniel Bausch
  • 20’46 – 40’16: Lessons Learnt from Rolling out Testing, by Prof. Rosanna Peeling
  • 40’17 – 49’00: Q&A
  • 49’15 – 1’38’40: Regulatory framework to facilitate access to diagnostic tests, roundtable moderated by Prof. Rosanna Peeling
  • 1’39’50 – 1’54’54: Laboratory capacity strengthening for genomic sequencing in LMIC, by Dr. Gerald Mboowa
  • 1’55’06 – 2’11’52: Surveillance strategies for SARS-CoV-2 variant detection, by Prof. Sylvie van der Werf
  • 2’11’53 – 2’18’32: Q&A
  • 2’18’33 – 2’22’38: Closing remarks, by Dr. Alex Costa

The event was organized in lieu of the 11th edition of the Advanced Course on Diagnostics (ACDx), initially scheduled in September 2021 and postponed to January 2022.

Learn more about the previous ACDx webinars on COVID-19:

ACDx special edition on COVID-19

The critical role of diagnostics in the fight against COVID-19