Amazon to deliver coronavirus tests
The UK government has approached Amazon and other companies about using their services to increase urgently the delivery of coronavirus tests to frontline health and social care workers, reports the FT.
Businesses with established delivery infrastructure would initially help deliver tests to medical and social care workers, and then the general public. The idea of later sending test kits to people at home is another option being explored.
Also in the U.S., CNBC reports that Amazon will deliver and pick up at-home test kits provided by new coronavirus program in Seattle.
Amazon is going to be working with a new research initiative backed in part by the Gates Foundation that will distribute at-home coronavirus assessment kits, and then deliver the collected samples to FDA-approved test facilities. Amazon Care, the health arm formed by Amazon initially for internal employee care, will be handling the delivery of the kits, as well as transportation of collected samples to the test labs.
The Amazon Care drivers who are doing the test kit drop-offs and deliveries are specifically trained in proper handling of sensitive medical materials, and the SCAN project is for a limited research endeavor undertaken in order to help “understand how coronavirus is spreading in the Greater Seattle area.
SCAN is the result of a partnership by Seattle & King County’s Public Health department, as well as a team of hospitals and health organizations that created the Seattle Flu Study, a similar project meant to study the spread of the traditional seasonal flu within the community. The research and data modeling work done for that study have been adapted to the study of COVID-19, and the flu study has been put on hold while researchers focus on the pandemic instead.
“Early detection plays an essential role in helping public health authorities identify and treat people with COVID-19, take steps to safely isolate them and reduce transmission within the community,” said Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman. “The Gates Foundation deeply appreciates the efforts that local, state, and federal public health authorities have invested in responding to this outbreak, and we are eager to contribute our knowledge and resources to the effort.”