AWS Launches $20 million Research Initiative to Improve Coronavirus Testing
Amazon Web Services (AWS), which is a part of Amazon Web Services, is dipping into its vast resources to help researchers find better ways to test for 2019’s novel coronavirus, also known by COVID-19.
Friday’s announcement by the AWS Diagnostic Development Initiative reveals that $20 million will be invested in research efforts to tap the AWS cloud to create better diagnostics tools to detect the coronavirus. The virus has been rapidly spreading across the globe, causing economic disruption and forcing millions into quarantine.
The inaccessibility and inefficiency in testing kits for patients suspected to have the coronavirus is a major obstacle facing governments in trying to stop its spread.
According to the announcement, the AWS Diagnostic Development Initiative will be available to “accredited research institutes and private entities that use AWS to support research-oriented workloads to develop point-of-care diagnostics. This is testing that can be done at home (or in a clinic with same day results).”
The initial $20 million investment, which includes technical support as well as AWS credit, will prioritize projects that focus on coronavirus. The initiative could expand to include “other infectious disease diagnostics projects” in the future.
Organizations around the globe are eligible to join the AWS Diagnostic Development Initiative if they meet the criteria in this FAQ. According to the FAQ, the amount of technical support and AWS credits that are awarded to participants can vary. This could include encouraging a different cost model by leveraging Spot Instances, or funding a smaller portion of a proof of concept.
According to AWS, the program has already attracted 35 participants since its launch. These include large research organizations and startups.
AWS also offers several cloud services to organizations that are converting their employees to remote workers to help slow the spread of the virus. These resources are described in this blog post by Jeff Barr, AWS evangelist.