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Gates Foundation to boost COVID-19 detection

Bill Gates
Bill Gates at the American Association for the Advancement of Science 2020 annual meeting in Seattle. (GeekWire Photo / Todd Bishop)

By Todd Bishop and Alan Boyle

A report says the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is preparing to fund at-home testing kits for the novel coronavirus in Seattle.

However, the Gates Foundation cautions that the plans aren’t final.

The kits, to be available in the “coming weeks,” would quickly identify hot spots where the disease is spreading, according to The Seattle Times. The newspaper quotes Scott Dowell, leader of coronavirus response at the Gates Foundation, as saying it the initiative “has enormous potential to turn the tide of the epidemic.”

Dowell cautions in the story, however, that there are many details to work out, and a launch date hasn’t been set.

In a statement to GeekWire, the Gates Foundation said, “The Seattle Times article today addressed the potential to adapt the Seattle Flu Study to support local public health agencies in the greater Seattle area in detecting COVID-19.  Our team has and will continue to actively explore ways that we can contribute to local response through the application of the study. While we’re working quickly with our partners to determine what’s possible, details of this support have not yet been finalized.”

Get the full story on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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