Diagnostics for Epidemic and Pandemic Preparedness

Related program: Diagnostics

Accurate diagnostics are critical for rapid detection of epidemic pathogens and to inform effective public health responses to prevent or control disease.

Epidemic and pandemic preparedness also requires well-linked laboratory, disease surveillance, and health information systems capable of using diagnostic data for rapid and effective action. Strengthening these capacities at the country level is critical to improving national preparedness and response to epidemics while also bolstering regional and global health security.

Tools and resources to support a rapid response to COVID-19

PATH Diagnostics rapidly responded to fill diagnostic gaps during the COVID-19 pandemic with laboratory-based activities to support the development, availability, and sustainability of high-quality diagnostics. This includes:

Supporting the detection and eradication of Poliovirus

Polio is a highly infectious virus that spreads through infected sewage and continues to threaten some of the world’s most marginalized communities. Even after infection, symptoms are typically slow to appear, allowing poliovirus to circulate undetected in communities for weeks.

PATH Diagnostics supports the elimination of polio by:

  • Collaborating with partners to develop a simple wastewater surveillance device, a bag-mediated filtration system to support early detection of outbreaks within communities to accelerate polio eradication in the remote and challenging regions where wild poliovirus is endemic or where access to vaccines is absent or limited.
  • Supporting the development of a rapid diagnostic screening test to detect individuals with primary immunodeficiency (PID), a class of rare genetic disorders that present a challenge for eradicating the poliovirus.

Supporting the detection of Typhoid through standardization of environmental surveillance methods

Salmonella Typhi detection from sewage and contaminated surface waters is a critical tool to detect and address Typhoid circulating in a community.

PATH Diagnostics is:

  • Supporting the evaluation of numerous environmental surveillance (ES) methods, including the bag-mediated filtration system deployed for Polio ES, in detecting typhi in wastewater to develop an evidence base that can support ES via harmonization of outputs.
  • Develop a performance standard-based quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) framework to enable broad interpretability of data collected via different methods within a uniform context.

Additional resources

  • Peer-reviewed publications from PATH Diagnostics researchers and scientists in collaboration with external partners
  • Recent press releases from PATH Diagnostics