Thermo Fisher’s ability to cost-effectively meet urgent COVID-19 testing needs catapulted us into the global health spotlight. In 2021, we became one of the largest suppliers of qPCR COVID-19 diagnostics to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). We’ve served over 150 LMIC-based laboratories worldwide.
Our newly established Company strategy and Global Health Equity (GHE) business provides holistic solutions targeted specifically to customers in LMICs, to enable the public health response to the pandemic and the opportunity to strengthen infrastructure to better manage ongoing public health concerns related to endemic infectious diseases in these countries.
We work alongside global health partners, including the World Health Organization, Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), UNICEF and the Africa CDC, to aid target countries in their pandemic response. As an example, we extended the original warranty on 362 diagnostic instruments purchased through our Global Health Equity (GHE) channel from March 2020 to March 2021 for an additional 12 months at no charge.
During the second major COVID-19 wave in India, we partnered with UNICEF and the Government of India to scale incountry capacity. We successfully installed 97 Thermo Scientific™ KingFisher™ Flex instruments for nucleic acid, protein and cell purification. Overcoming strict travel restrictions and resource limitations, our efforts enabled customers to immediately begin testing in remote areas of the country to better manage the surge. This collaboration was supplemented with a humanitarian response that supported nongovernmental organizations responding on the front lines.
To effectively utilize critical donations, receiving entities must have the appropriate capabilities and infrastructure. At Thermo Fisher, we mobilize quickly when needed to support technical upskilling and capacity building to bridge the gap and equip frontline stakeholders for immediate impact and long-term success.
The Just Project is our US-based health equity initiative supporting Black communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Through this initiative, we provided comprehensive support to establish a robust and sustainable lab network that now allows over 60 HBCUs to provide students and faculty with free COVID-19 testing directly. These labs, certified in line with national quality regulatory requirements, have the potential to support evolving diagnostic needs and scientific research programs well into the future. In 2021, we extended our support of the Just Project for another school year, bringing our commitment to more than $30 million in donated diagnostic instruments, test kits and related supplies since we launched in 2020.
In 2021, the United States Agency for International Development notified us that our donation of Applied Biosystems™ TaqPath™ COVID-19 CE-IVD kits to Honduras was at risk of being underutilized because many of the technicians in the country’s public laboratory network lacked access to quality training. We stepped in to provide in-person training and 24/7 remote support that ensured labs remained operational and empowered technicians to perform and transfer knowledge independently.
As a result, over 200,000 tests were performed, and this engagement has paved the way for a deeper partnership with the public laboratory network of Honduras, establishing a collaboration that will extend beyond the pandemic.
Through our collaboration with CHAI, Thermo Fisher supported the in-kind distribution of more than 400,000 COVID-19 test kits in Vietnam, Cambodia, Senegal and Mozambique.