Bill Gates funds Coronavirus home testing kits, report says
A project financed by billionaire Bill Gates is set to issue at-home testing kits for people who fear they’ve been infected with the coronavirus.
Only days after the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced another round of investment to help detect and treat the new coronavirus, The Seattle Times reports a project backed by the couple will be sent to people in the Seattle area in the coming weeks.
Participants in the study will self administer a nose-swab and send the sample to health officials for testing. Medical experts will then notify people who test positive for the respiratory disease that has killed at least 3,000 people globally and sickened thousands, the report said.
There’s no vaccine to prevent or cure coronavirus, according to the CDC.
People who test positive also will have access to an online form to answer questions about where they have been and who they have had contact with. The information collected will help officials track down those who might have to be examined or quarantined, according to the report.
“Although there is a lot to be worked out, that has tremendous potential to turn the tide of the epidemic,” Scott Dowell, who directs the coronavirus response program, told The Seattle Times.
Up to now, no launch date has been determined. “While we are working fast with our partners to ascertain what is possible, details of the support haven’t yet been finalized,” the base told reporters in a statement.
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Last week, the foundation said it would commit $5 million to help public health agencies in the greater Seattle area respond to the coronavirus. In February, the base committed around $100 million in global coronavirus response.
Washington state has confirmed 136 cases and 15 deaths from the disease. The first instance of the outbreak in the USA was found in a guy living just north of Seattle.