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Bill Gates is funding an at-home coronavirus testing program

To find out how the coronavirus spreads through communities, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said he is funding an at-home self-swab test for those who live in Seattle. 

The Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network (SCAN) is a “disease surveillance program” whose goal is to provide a clearer picture of how the coronavirus spreads through a community by testing healthy people as well as those who are sick, Gates announced in a blog post on Tuesday, May 12.

“As SCAN gathers more test results in the weeks ahead, researchers expect the new data to provide a better sense of the number of infections and serve as one source to help answer other questions, like when physical distancing measures can be relaxed,” Gates wrote on his blog.

SCAN will test a sample of a diverse group of people and use the results, as well as other demographic data — including age, gender, race, and ZIP code — to learn more about who is at a higher risk for coronavirus and to see if social distancing is actually working. 


People in Seattle interested in participating can enroll in the voluntary program starting Wednesday, May 13. Those chosen for the program will receive an at-home nasal-swab test kit and can review their results on SCAN’s web portal.

Gates is funding the program privately, as well we through his investment firm and his foundation. 

Gates has repeatedly stressed the importance of testing as one of the critical factors needed to end coronavirus quarantines since the beginning of the outbreak. 

Gates said in the past that getting the United States organized on testing will allow us to overcome the rapid spread of the virus until a vaccine can be made.

There are already a few other at-home coronavirus test kits available on the market, including one that has been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration and costs $119. 

For the latest updates on the novel coronavirus outbreak, visit the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 page.

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