Amazon is teaming up with Bill Gates-backed group to deliver coronavirus test kits in the US | HT Tech

Amazon is teaming up with Bill Gates-backed group to deliver coronavirus test kits in the US

Amazon will be delivering and picking up home-test kits provided by Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network that’s backed by Gates Foundation

By: HT CORRESPONDENT
| Updated on: Mar 24 2020, 23:01 IST
Medical workers in protective suits check a document as they treat patients suffering with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in an intensive care unit at the Casalpalocco hospital, a hospital in Rome that has been dedicated to treating cases of the disease, Italy, March 24, 2020. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane
Medical workers in protective suits check a document as they treat patients suffering with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in an intensive care unit at the Casalpalocco hospital, a hospital in Rome that has been dedicated to treating cases of the disease, Italy, March 24, 2020. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane (Reuters)

Seattle's King County is one of the regions in the US that's been impacted the most by coronavirus. Amazon is going to be teaming up with a new research effort here to pick up and deliver coronavirus tests.

This research effort, called the Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network or SCAN, is backed by the Gates Foundation. SCAN researchers are hoping to learn how the infection spreads amongst different demographic groups. This could provide some valuable insight into how the virus is likely to progress and therefore figure out possible ways to stem it.

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Testing for the virus is still rather limited in the US and highly restricted in many areas.

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Amazon Care, the arm of the company providing medical care to employees, is going to help SCAN with delivery and logistics. They will be delivering tests to people who are feeling sick or are asymptomatic and then will pick them up after analysis.

If the virus is detected in the samples collected, the participant will be contacted by a healthcare worker.

The involvement, in this case, is limited to Amazon Care and not the broader company network. All the couriers involved have been correctly trained to handle medical material and will be distributing the self-swab kits to homes.

CNBC was the first to report about Amazon's involvement.

"Responding to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 crisis must be a community effort and requires support from both the private and public sectors," Amazon Care director Kristen Helton told CNBC in an emailed statement.

"We are grateful to be surrounded by a strong community of public health, global health and academic leaders and are eager to leverage Amazon Care's infrastructure and logistics capabilities to support this local effort," Helton added.

This project is based on the work done for the Seattle Flu Study, which used self-administered tests to track the spread of the influenza virus. Research partners behind the effort, which is supported by local health officials, include Brotman Baty Institute, University of Washington Medicine, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Seattle Children's Hospital.

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First Published Date: 24 Mar, 23:00 IST
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