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Regulatory Focus™ > News Articles > 5 > WHO Launches First List of Essential Diagnostics

WHO Launches First List of Essential Diagnostics

Posted 15 May 2018 | By Michael Mezher 

WHO Launches First List of Essential Diagnostics

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday published its first essential diagnostics list (EDL), cataloguing the 113 most critical categories of diagnostics for common and priority diseases.

“An accurate diagnosis is the first step to getting effective treatment,” said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

WHO first announced it would develop the list in June 2017 after an expert committee recommended that the agency craft a list of essential in vitro diagnostics (IVDs) for priority diseases including tuberculosis, malaria, HIV and hepatitis B and C.

Of the 113 types of diagnostics selected for the list, 58 are intended to diagnose a wide range of common conditions, both communicable and noncommunicable. The remaining 55 diagnostics are intended to diagnose or monitor priority diseases.

The list itself provides information about each test category, including the tests’ intended use, format, and the appropriate setting the test is suited for. The list also includes information on applicable WHO guidelines for the various types of diagnostics and notes whether there are WHO prequalified products available within a particular category.

“Our aim is to provide a tool that can be useful to all countries, to test and treat better, but also to use health funds more efficiently by concentrating on the truly essential tests,” said Mariângela Simão, WHO assistant director-general for access to medicines, vaccines and pharmaceuticals.

The list is similar to WHO’s essential medicines list (EML), which has been updated every two years since 1977 and is used as a reference by health authorities around the world to guide procurement decisions for critical drugs.

Going forward, WHO says it will update the EDL on an annual basis based on input from its expert group and expects the list to expand significantly with the inclusion of diagnostics for other focus areas, such as antimicrobial resistance, emerging pathogens and neglected tropical diseases.

WHO, Model List of Essential In Vitro Diagnostics

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