AWS Is Committing $20 Million To Develop A Faster And Affordable COVID-19 Test

By Annie Baker ● March 22, 2020
  • Amazon Web Services announced it is launching a diagnostic development project with 35 partners to develop a faster and affordable COVID-19 test

Amazon Web Services announced it is launching a diagnostic development project with 35 partners to develop a faster and affordable COVID-19 (coronavirus) test. And AWS said it is going to commit $20 million for customers to develop diagnostic tools.

This effort is being called the AWS Diagnostic Development Initiative. And it will be funded with AWS in-kind credits along with technical support. But the program does not support administrative workloads for running routine IT operations.

AWS is not the only technology company offering free services for combating COVID-19. Recently, Rescale, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure launched a new program offering computing resources without a cost to developers building test kits and vaccines for COVID-19.

“The program 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 we will also consider other infectious disease diagnostic projects,” said Teresa Carlson, Vice President of Worldwide Public Sector at Amazon in a blog post. “We believe we can make a difference with the AWS Diagnostic Development Initiative program 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 deprioritized in favor of a focus on vaccines. Third, organizations working on diagnostics need reliable, scalable compute power, which we can deliver to them along with industry-leading services like analytics and machine learning, so they can process and analyze large data sets and iterate quickly.”

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

Steve Davis, member of the World Health Organization’s Digital Health Technical Advisory Group and member of the AWS Diagnostic Development Initiative’s technical advisory group explained: “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.”