Report: Amazon and Gates Foundation aim to team up with scientists on home test kits for coronavirus

Amazon Care is providing help to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for a plan to ship coronavirus test kits to Seattle properties, CNBC reports.

The plan as described hints at a grand convergence involving two main gamers on Seattle’s tech scene, plus the University of Washington and the Seattle Flu Study.

Amazon Care is an on-demand healthcare clinic that’s open on a pilot foundation to Seattle-area Amazon staff and their households. CNBC quoted unnamed sources as saying Amazon has supplied to come up with a plan to ship the test kits, which embrace nasal swabs to take samples, without charge.

In an e mail to GeekWire, an Amazon spokesperson mentioned “we’re in discussions with leaders in public well being about how we will help” – however didn’t present additional particulars.

Amazon’s involvement builds on the Gates Foundation’s plan to leverage a program created by the Seattle Flu Research, a consortium of researchers that’s been monitoring the unfold of the coronavirus outbreak within the Seattle space for weeks.

This week, regulators stopped the Seattle Flu Research from performing exams for coronavirus and sharing the outcomes, due to the truth that the researchers didn’t have approval for scientific purposes of their testing protocol. However the research’s principal investigator, UW geneticist Jay Shendure, mentioned he and his colleagues saw a “path forward” to resuming their work.

Though Shendure didn’t go into element about that path, Trevor Bedford of Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Most cancers Analysis Heart, said in a tweet that UW’s Virology Lab can be concerned.

Final week, the virology lab began conducting its own coronavirus tests, thanks to a go-ahead that the Meals and Drug Administration issued under emergency guidelines. The lab’s managers say they’re performing greater than 900 exams a day and might enhance that tempo to as many as 5,000 exams each day.

That tempo might mesh with the Gates Foundation’s goal to monitor and reply to the COVID-19 outbreak extra intently. Final week, the muse pledged $5 million to increase detection efforts within the Seattle space, partly by constructing upon the work of the Seattle Flu Research.

In the present day, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and different regional officers introduced a sweeping campaign to control the spread of coronavirus, together with faculty closures and strict limitations on public gatherings within the Seattle space. Epidemiologists say doing a greater job of figuring out individuals who have the virus can be key to taking extra exactly focused actions.

We’ve reached out to the Gates Foundation, the Seattle Flu Research and UW Drugs, and will replace this report with something we hear again.

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