Amazon takes on coronavirus by developing tests for wide use

Tech giant enlists everyone from research scientists to software engineers

Amazon announced on Thursday that they are in the process of building up testing capacity for the coronavirus.

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"We’ve begun the work of building incremental testing capacity", the company said in a blog post. "A team of Amazonians with a variety of skills – from research scientists and program managers to procurement specialists and software engineers – have moved from their normal day jobs onto a dedicated team to work on this initiative. We have begun assembling the equipment we need to build our first lab and hope to start testing small numbers of our front line employees soon."

Hardy Wilson/Amazon

It’s unclear how many employees are a part of the test development team or how many employees will be included in the trial groups. Representatives from Amazon didn’t immediately respond to FOX Business' request for comment.

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The company added that while "regular testing on a global scale across all industries would both help keep people safe and help get the economy back up and running", the country needs "vastly more testing capacity than is currently available."

While Amazon plans to start testing their own employees, they hope to eventually be able to provide regular testing for everyone, including those showing no symptoms.

Hardy Wilson/Amazon

"If every person, including people with no symptoms, could be tested regularly, it would make a huge difference in how we are all fighting this virus", the company said. "Those who test positive could be quarantined and cared for, and everyone who tests negative could re-enter the economy with confidence."

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Hardy Wilson/Amazon

While they believe that building up high-volume testing capacity is the most effective way to combat the virus, Amazon stressed that helping everyone will take "collective action by NGOs, companies, and governments."

"We are not sure how far we will get in the relevant timeframe," the company wrote. "But we think it’s worth trying, and we stand ready to share anything we learn with others."

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The news comes as employees at a facility in Staten Island, New York walked out over health concerns, demanding Amazon shut down its facilities after reports of positive cases of coronavirus. Amazon employees in quaratine have also said that they are struggling to get paid, despite qualifying for the company's sick leave policy.

To date, Amazon says it has made "over 150 significant process changes at sites around the world" to mitigate the spread of the virus, including distributing masks to and conducting temperature checks of employees at Amazon's operations sites and grocery stores.

Reuters also reported this week that the company is piloting the use of disinfectant fog at its facilities.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
AMZNAMAZON.COM INC.3,162.58-24.15-0.76%

Amazon stock closed at $2,042.76 per share at the end of Thursday's trading session.

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