Amazon Web Services to distribute $12M toward cloud-powered disease-fighting tools
Amazon Web Services announced this week that it will distribute $12 million in computing credits and expertise toward cloud-powered early disease detection, prognosis, diagnostics and public health genomics projects.
Through its Diagnostic Development Initiative, the company says it aims to help organizations around the world better address diseases including – but not limited to – COVID-19.
"We have seen transformative innovations in how we diagnose disease over the past year, from machine learning-powered X-ray imagery analysis to new developments in rapid, high quality, and direct-to-consumer tests," said Dr. Vin Gupta, chief medical officer of Amazon’s COVID-19 Response, in a statement.
"These changes will continue to evolve and improve our ability to respond to future outbreaks," Gupta continued.
WHY IT MATTERS
This past year, AWS committed $20 million in computing credits and expertise through the first phase of its Diagnostic Development Initiative.
During that phase, AWS says it supported 87 organizations' diagnostic projects, including molecular tests for antibodies, antigens and nucleic acids; diagnostic imaging; wearables; and data analytics tools that use artificial intelligence and machine learning to detect the novel coronavirus.
In this next phase starting today, AWS says it will expand the scope to three new areas:
- Early disease detection to identify outbreaks at the individual and the community level
- Prognosis to better understand disease trajectory
- Public health genomics to bolster viral genome sequencing worldwide
Although it will prioritize COVID-19 projects, it will also evaluate those focusing on other infectious diseases.
THE LARGER TREND
Amazon is among several software giants that have poured resources toward cloud-powered healthcare technology amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
This past October, Microsoft made its Cloud for Healthcare platform generally available, along with launching its Microsoft Teams electronic health record connector.
And Google last April announced its Google Cloud Healthcare API, designed to enable standardized data exchange between healthcare applications and solutions built on Google Cloud.
ON THE RECORD
"We have already seen inspirational results from the Diagnostic Development Initiative, and we look forward to supporting broader uses of cloud technologies to enable organizations and communities to identify and respond even faster to future outbreaks," said Gupta in a statement.