Reuters has seen internal meeting notes which suggest that Amazon has been in contact with the bosses of two coronavirus test kit makers in order to find a way to test its workforce which is now more crucial to the functioning of society than ever. The two companies in talks with Amazon are Abbott Laboratories and Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.
It’s not clear from the documents which type of tests Amazon is hoping to deploy at its warehouses but Abbott has U.S. marketing approval for a diagnostic test for use in physicians’ office and other community healthcare buildings – these tests check to see if someone currently has COVID-19. The FDA has also approved a Thermo Fisher test.
According to the leaked documents, Amazon had asked the firms if it would be able to start tests in a warehouse near Seattle, however, the U.S. government is currently taking up all of their testing capacity so it’s not clear how long Amazon would need to wait. In addition, Amazon is also investigating how it can test more than one person at a time but has not stated who it’s working with to achieve that.
Routing out COVID-19 among its workforce is important for Amazon because the demand for its services is high with more people forced to stay at home. The disease has been found in staff from at least 19 of its U.S. warehouses according to Reuters. Overall, the coronavirus has affected at least 1,139,207 people worldwide since jumping to humans and has caused almost 61,000 deaths at the time of writing.