The Covid-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP) of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) have finalised a worldwide, non-exclusive licencing agreement with the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) for its Covid-19 serological antibody test.

The test can detect the presence of anti-Covid-19 antibodies generated in response to either a SARS-CoV-2 infection or vaccination.

The non-exclusive licensing agreement is the first-ever test licence to be signed by the MPP.

The WHO noted that the latest move will aid in the quick production and marketing of the CSIC Covid-19 serological test globally.

All associated patents, as well as the biological material required for the test’s production, are included in the deal.

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The CSIC will extend complete expertise and training to MPP and/or other potential licensees.

For low- and middle-income nations, the licence will be offered on a royalty-free basis and remain valid until the final patent expires.

So far, the technology has yielded four separate tests. One among them can differentiate the immune response of Covid-19 infected people from those who have received the vaccine.

The easy-to-use tests could be used in various settings, such as rural regions in low- and middle-income nations, with simple lab infrastructure.

The test results can be read manually with the naked eye, however, an ELISA reader is advised for improved precision.

WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “I highly commend CSIC, a public research institute, for its commitment to solidarity and for offering worldwide access to their technology and know-how.

“This is the kind of open and transparent licence we need to move the needle on access during and after the pandemic.

“I urge developers of Covid-19 vaccines, treatments and diagnostics to follow this example and turn the tide on the pandemic and on the devastating global inequity this pandemic has spotlighted.”

In October, Fulgent Genetics unveiled a new lab-developed at-home Covid-19 neutralising antibody test.