As Hannah discussed in last week’s Goldhub blog post, many World Gold Council Members operate in regions which are often disproportionately impacted by healthcare challenges and they play a key role in supporting their employees and wider communities, especially during times of crisis. Indeed, their contribution towards SDG 3 is considerable in many parts of the world.
But it’s not just the miners that are having a positive impact on SDG 3, gold itself is a critical material in the healthcare sector. It is used in a large number of diagnostic tools, and is of increasing interest to companies developing innovative new ways to treat disease. These applications often go unnoticed, but are an important part of gold’s story.
Diagnostic testing & COVID-19
We published a series of blogs on Goldhub throughout 2020 detailing how gold is a critical component of lateral flow assays (LFAs), with the most recent looking at how capacity pressure in the wider diagnostics landscape was catalysing the development of new solutions and tools to quickly and accurately diagnose COVID-19.1 2020 was a hugely tumultuous year, and the rollout of reliable COVID-19 diagnostics was undeniably challenging. However, by the end of the year the suite of lab-based molecular tests had been supplemented by a range of reliable and affordable COVID-19 LFAs. As we move towards the end of 2021, there is now hundreds of gold-based tests being developed for use worldwide to help in the fight against COVID-19. Indeed, if you have taken a LFA at any point over the last year, it’s very likely to have contained gold.
There are many other diagnostics that rely on this technology, including malaria tests which are manufactured in the hundreds of millions annually. If you’d like to learn more about how this technology works in practice, please check out our animation below.