Seattle: Amazon.com Inc. has started building a lab that can produce tests for the Covid-19 virus, the latest step among various initiatives the online retailer is taking to try to protect its warehouse workers and delivery drivers who are getting essential products to customers sheltering at home.
“We’ve begun the work of building incremental testing capacity,” Amazon said Thursday in a blog post. “A team of Amazonians with a variety of skills — from research scientists and program managers to procurement specialists and software engineers — have moved from their normal day jobs onto a dedicated team to work on this initiative. We have begun assembling the equipment we need to build our first lab and hope to start testing small numbers of our front line employees soon.”
Amazon said it is unsure how many tests the effort will produce and it is willing to share its findings with others. The company said it’s taking this step because tests for the disease aren’t available to adequately protect the population.
“Regular testing on a global scale across all industries would both help keep people safe and help get the economy back up and running,” the company said. “But, for this to work, we as a society would need vastly more testing capacity than is currently available. Unfortunately, today we live in a world of scarcity where Covid-19 testing is heavily rationed.”
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