AWS launches global initiative to spur COVID-19 diagnostics, research, testing

17:26 | 06/04/2020
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is launching a global initiative with commitment to an initial investment of $20 million to accelerate diagnostic research, innovation, and development to speed the wortld's collective understanding and detection of COVID-19 and other innovate diagnostic solutions to mitigate future infectious disease outbreaks.
aws launches global initiative to spur covid 19 diagnostics research testing

This is part of the AWS Diagnostic Development Initiative – a global programme to support customers who are working to bring better, more accurate diagnostics solutions to market faster and promote better collaboration across organisations that are working on similar problems.

Teresa Carlson, vice president of worldwide public sector at AWS, recently shared a blog post on the Amazon Day One blog, saying, “As COVID-19 continues to spread, we are acutely aware of the impact this is having on families, businesses, and communities. This is a global health emergency that will only be resolved by governments, businesses, academia, and individuals working together to better understand this virus and ultimately find a cure.”

The programme will be open to accredited research institutions and private entities that are using AWS to support research-oriented workloads for the development of point-of-care diagnostics (testing that can be done at home or at a clinic with same-day results). Given the need, the emphasis initially will be on COVID-19, but it will also consider other infectious disease diagnostic projects.

AWS believes it can make a difference with the AWS Diagnostic Development Initiative programme for several reasons. First, accurate detection is the tip of the spear for any effective pandemic response strategy. Second, diagnostics research has historically been underfunded and largely deprioritised in favor of a focus on vaccines. Third, organisations working on diagnostics need reliable, scalable computing power, which it can deliver to them along with industry-leading services like analytics and machine learning so they can process and analyse large data sets and iterate quickly.

The AWS Diagnostic Development Initiative will benefit from the counsel of an outside technical advisory group consisting of leading scientists, global health policy experts, and thought leaders in the field of infectious disease diagnostics. This advisory group will help set the initiative’s priorities, help innovate ways to enable participants to securely share critical research findings, and foster better dialogue between AWS customers and qualified external organisations who may be working independently to solve similar challenges.

As Steve Davis, member of the World Health Organization's Digital Health Technical Advisory Group and a member of the AWS Diagnostic Development Initiative’s technical advisory group noted, “The world needs more and more private sector innovation to combat this pandemic. Amazon’s commitments and participation are very welcome, particularly since the lack of significant next-generation diagnostic tools remains a large gap in most health systems. A platform to link research, digital capabilities, and new products to customers globally is an exciting venture.”

AWS is launching the AWS Diagnostic Development Initiative with participation from 35 global research institutions, startups, and businesses focused on tackling this challenge.

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