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A blood sample is collected at a Russian medical center. Photo: Kirill Kukhmar/TASS via Getty Images

The World Health Organization this week issued a list of must-have diagnostic tools for nations to adopt. They expect the first round of the Essential Diagnostics List (EDL) will encourage manufacturers to boost production of the tests.

Why it matters: Diagnostic tools are the first, key step in ensuring a patient is receiving the correct treatment and in assisting countries in containing and responding to disease outbreaks, but many developing countries do not have access to them.

"Diagnostics are going to be key ... to be able to triage and respond and manage patients when an outbreak happens."
— Jamie Bay Nishi, director, Global Health Technologies Coalition

The context: Creating a global pandemic response system, which would include rapid diagnostic tests, is increasingly being recognized as a major health and security priority. "The world needs to prepare for pandemics, the way it prepares for war," Bill Gates said recently.

The details: The list of 113 products focuses on in vitro tests of human specimens like blood and urine.

  • 58 tests are for detection and diagnosis of common conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular, anaemia and liver function.
  • 55 tests are to detect, diagnose and monitor "priority diseases" like HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, hepatitis B and C, human papillomavirus (HPV) and syphilis.
  • The diagnostics range from very simple to sophisticated tests that may call for greater investment in developing nations' health care systems, Nishi tells Axios.

The big picture: By offering a "gold stamp of approval from WHO," Nishi tells Axios the EDL will help guide developing countries as they prioritize how to build up their testing and health system infrastructure. It also provides a good incentive to manufacturers to develop and produce more of these tests, she says.

What's next: WHO plans to continue expanding the list and says it will issue a call for applications to add categories to the next edition in the coming months. One target for the next round: tests for antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

"It'll be a game changer to handle the AMR crisis," Nishi says.

Go deeper: Read WHO's full report here.

Go deeper

Anti-Trump lawmakers' private security expenses ballooned after Jan. 6 riot

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill on April 14. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Image

Members of Congress are spending tens of thousands of dollars on personal security for them and their families in the wake of the Jan. 6 riot, according to an analysis of first-quarter Federal Election Commission reports by Punchbowl News.

Between the lines: Private security expenditures were especially common among anti-Trump Republicans and high-profile Democrats who earlier this year voted to impeach and convict the former president for inciting the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot, signaling they fear for the safety of themselves and their families.

1 hour ago - World

Jimmy Lai among Hong Kong pro-democracy leaders sentenced to prison

Students standing under a banner during a flag raising ceremony on the first annual National Security Education Day in Hong Kong. Photo: Vernon Yuen/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A Hong Kong court sentenced a group of the city's most prominent pro-democracy activists to up to 18 months in prison Friday for organizing a massive unauthorized protest in August 2019 that drew an estimated 1.7 million people, AP reports.

Why it matters: Critics say the sentences send the message that even peaceful pro-democracy activism will be severely punished. They mark a continuation of Beijing's overhaul of Hong Kong's political structure, designed to crack down opposition to the Chinese Communist Party.

Local news moves to the inbox

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A slew of new companies are launching platforms for local newsletters, a shift that could help finally bring the local news industry into the digital era.

Driving the news: Substack, the email publishing platform for independent journalists, on Thursday announced a new local news platform.