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Alphabet Unit Developing Coronavirus Triage Tool

By Eric Volkman - Mar 14, 2020 at 11:15AM

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Verily provided little detail on its efforts to help defeat the current global health scourge; a tweet disseminated on its behalf seemed more an effort to correct a presidential misstatement.

Verily, the life sciences division of tech giant Alphabet (GOOG 2.87%) (GOOGL 2.82%), said today it is part of the effort to combat the COVID-19 respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus spreading around the world. 

On Friday, Verily issued a tweet that was disseminated on the feed of fellow Alphabet unit Google Communications. Verily said that "[w]e are developing a tool to help triage individuals for COVID-19 testing. Verily is in the early stages of development, and planning to roll testing out in the Bay Area, with the hope of expanding more broadly over time."

Verily spokeswoman Carolyn Wang, quoted by CNN, said that "[w]hat we're building is a triage tool that will live on, and we plan to pilot it in California next week." is a research project headed by Verily in collaboration with Stanford and Duke Universities and the American Heart Association. It is aimed at "collaborating to build the next generation of healthcare tools and services," as stated on the home page.

A coronavirus colony.

Image source: Getty Images

It seems that Verily's statements were moves to correct remarks made at a White House press conference by president Donald Trump. On Friday, Trump claimed that "Google is helping to develop a website. It's going to be very quickly done, unlike websites of the past, to determine whether a test is warranted and to facilitate testing at a nearby convenient location."

Alphabet, as the parent company, has not rebutted this assertion; it seems Verily's communication was aimed at indirectly doing so.

Regardless, high-visibility tech stock Alphabet was a winner on Friday. The prices of both its publicly traded share classes rose by over 9% on the day.


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