Amazon's (NASDAQ:AMZN) cloud unit Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced Friday it is investing $20 million to speed up the development of a faster COVID-19 test.
In a blog post, Teresa Carlson, vice president for Amazon Web Services' worldwide public sector business, said AWS is launching the AWS Diagnostic Development Initiative, which will support customers who are working to bring "better, more accurate, diagnostic solutions to market faster" and promote better collaboration between organizations working on similar problems.
AWS said it's committing an initial $20 million investment to the initiative, with the funding provided via a combination of AWS in-kind credits and technical support. The program is open to accredited research institutions and private entities that use AWS to support research workloads.
The emphasis will initially be on COVID-19, but AWS said it will consider other infectious disease diagnostic projects in the future.
"In our Amazon Web Services (AWS) business, one area where we have heard an urgent need is in the research and development of diagnostics, which consist of rapid, accurate detection and testing of COVID-19," wrote Carlson. "Better diagnostics will help accelerate treatment and containment, and in time, shorten the course of this epidemic."
AWS is setting up a counsel of outside technical advisors that will consist of scientists, global health policy experts and "thought leaders" in infectious disease diagnostics. AWS Diagnostic Development Initiative is launching with 35 global research institutions, start-ups, and businesses focused on containing the virus.
As it stands, COVID-19 tests can take longer than a day to get the results, which means people are left wondering if they should self-quarantine. But if accurate results are received rapidly, it can help slow down the spread of the virus. "Accurate detection is the tip of the spear for any effective pandemic response strategy," wrote Carlson.