GeneXpert test technology has revolutionised the diagnosis of TB, allowing detection of the TB bacterium, and its resistance to drugs, in only two hours. Photo credit: Andrea Bussotti
Letter |

Civil society response to Cepheid, donors and countries calling for access to GeneXpert COVID-19 tests

Photo credit: Andrea Bussotti

In February 2021, the MSF Access Campaign, alongside over 100 civil society organisations, sent an open letter to COVID-19 test maker Cepheid asking the corporation to stop overcharging and undersupplying COVID-19 tests for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). In early March, the corporation responded with an unsatisfactory reply, failing to address any of the concerns put forward in the letter.


Civil society groups and MSF have sent another letter, urging donors, countries and other international health actors to reiterate its demands that Cepheid stop overcharging and undersupplying LMICs.

Despite evidence that it costs less than US$5 to manufacture GeneXpert tests, Cepheid is charging LMICs US$19.80 per COVID-19 test. Also, Cepheid has committed less than 15% of its supply of COVID-19 tests to the Diagnostics Consortium, representing 144 LMICs and more than 80% of the global population, in spite of high demand from LMICs for these tests. It is critical that diagnostics for COVID-19 and other infectious diseases are priced fairly and supplied in sufficient quantities to fully meet the testing needs of people living in LMICs.