Microsoft Cloud powers at-home COVID-19 test study

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Microsoft yesterday announced that it is now offering its new self-swab kits to help people collect their coronavirus (COVID-19) samples at home, and then mail them for testing to labs. The company has collaborated with Stanford University, Gates Ventures, and other private and public institutions to develop this system, now it testing in the San Francisco Bay area.

The service leverages the power of the Vera Cloud Testing Platform to aggregate test results and data about symptoms submitted by the participants. Specifically, Vera includes a self-swabbing kit, a customizable enrollment and testing system, as well as a participant portal for test results reporting and follow-up. It’s completely scalable and customizable. In the past few weeks, Stanford Medicine has conducted a pilot study called CATCH (Community Alliance to Test Coronavirus at Home) to test the new platform initially.

“Being able to do that by sending kits to your home is a very powerful way of ensuring that you can actually have a much better understanding of the pandemic, and also do it in a much more equitable way,” said Vikram Dendi, general manager of Microsoft Health NExT. “The design of CATCH as a study intends to try to overcome those kinds of inequities and really develop a very clear and comprehensive picture of how things are evolving,”

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To no surprise, the researchers have used Microsoft’s cloud, including the Microsoft Healthcare Bot, Azure, Power BI, and Power Platform, for creating both Vera and CATCH. Furthermore, the company’s Microsoft’s AI for Good program has also helped the project team in the scale-up process. Microsoft believes that the new testing kit could have a broader impact on providing testing not only for coronavirus but also for other diseases.