Amazon will work with a group of public health researchers to help deliver and and pick up coronavirus test kits in Seattle’s King County, CNBC reported Monday.
Amazon Care, a division of the e-commerce giant that provides medical care to its employees, is partnering with the Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network (SCAN), a group of researchers backed by the Gates Foundation, according to CNBC.
The partnership could help improve testing capacity as the US continues to lag behind other countries in getting people checked for COVID-19.
CNBC previously reported that Amazon hopes to process thousands of tests per day while keeping potentially sick people out of healthcare facilities where they could expose others to the disease.
“Responding to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 crisis must be a community effort and requires support from both the private and public sectors. 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,” a spokesperson told Business Insider in a statement.
SCAN is based off the work of the Seattle Flu Study, which had already been collecting nasal swab samples from residents in the area in January in order to monitor the spread of the flu and other infectious diseases. But federal officials reportedly told the Seattle Flu Study researchers not to test swab samples for coronavirus before the outbreak took hold of Washington state — a potential missed opportunity early on in the US outbreak.
Washington, where the first US COVID-19 case was reported, has been one of the hardest-hit states in the country. Washington now has more than a third of all coronavirus deaths in the US and more than 1,500 infected patients.
The test delivery and pickup effort also involves local health officials as well as Brotman Baty Institute, University of Washington Medicine, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and Seattle Children’s Hospital, according to CNBC.