WHO releases first list for essential diagnostics

Simon Collins, HIV i-Base

On 15 May 2018 the WHO published its first Essential Diagnostics List. This included the tests needed to identify the most common conditions and a number of global priority diseases.

Currently many people are unable to access essential tests leading to inappropriate or no treatment, including for HIV and tuberculosis.

The new WHO resource aims to complement the WHO Essential Medicines List that has been in use for four decades.

The Essential Diagnostics List specifies the test type and intended use, and whether it’s appropriate for primary healthcare. When available, the document links to WHO Guidelines or publications and to prequalified products.

The list include 113 products, 58 tests of which are for a wide range of common conditions. The remaining 55 are for detection, diagnosis and monitoring of priority diseases including HIV, syphilis, tuberculosis, malaria, hepatitis B and C and human papillomavirus.

This includes 3rd and 4th generation HIV tests, viral load, CD4 and cryptococcal antigen (for advanced HIV).

The list will be updated annually and is also expected to expand to include neglected tropical diseases and antimicrobial resistance.


WHO. World Health Organization Model List of Essential In Vitro Diagnostics First edition (2018). (PDF)

See also the WHO press release:

Links to other websites are current at date of posting but not maintained.