- Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded a project that plans to develop at-home COVID-19 testing kits, especially in the Seattle, Washington, area.
- Last month, the foundation has pledged $100 million for the response efforts to combat the outbreak.
- Bill Gates has been warning for years about the potential pandemic risk that could wipe out 30 million people in less than a year.
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded a project that plans to develop at-home COVID-19 testing kits, especially for those at risk of infection in the Seattle, Washington, area.
The foundation has pledged $100 million last month for the response efforts to combat the coronavirus, designated toward vaccine research, frontline responders, prevention measures, and treatment efforts around the world.
The goal of the project is to improve the capacity for evaluating and identifying patients who should be tested for COVID-19, aiming to eventually be able to process thousands of samples per day, says Scott Dowell, leader of coronavirus response at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
These at-home testing kits should be able to return results in up to two days, as well as fill out an online form that details the movements of the patient. This is to have it easier for health officials to track the spread of the disease, says The Times.
The research may allow Washington State better handle the current outbreak of the new coronavirus now at hand, with 136 confirmed cases and 18 deaths within the state. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency on February 29.
Dowell told the news station that, “One of the most important things from our perspective, having watched and worked on this in other parts of the world, is the identification of people who are positive for the virus, so they can be safely isolated and cared for, and the identification of their contacts, who can then be quarantined.”
The timeline for the launch for the at-home testing project remains unclear, as the Foundation looks to upgrade the supporting software and finalize the online questionnaire that comes with it.
“Although there’s a lot to be worked out, this has enormous potential to turn the tide of the epidemic,” Dowell told The Times.
While the new coronavirus remains to be declared a pandemic, with 110,000 confirmed cases and at least 3,825 dead on a global scale, Bill Gates has been warning for years about the potential pandemic risk that could wipe out 30 million people in less than a year.
In 2017, Bill Gates says, “The good news is that with advances in biotechnology, new vaccines and drugs can help prevent epidemics from spreading out of control.”