Alphabet’s Verily Ramps Up Drive-Thru Coronavirus Testing

Verily says it has more than 1,000 volunteers from across Alphabet working on its COVID-19 screening and testing efforts as it readies a ramp-up across more regions.

The company also released a video explaining the screening and testing process, including its “drive-thru” testing, manned by the volunteers.

“People across Alphabet are volunteering time (and) I’ve never seen so much commitment to do the right thing,” said Jessica Mega, chief medical and scientific officer at Verily who spoke with CNBC this week by phone.

The ramp-up comes after the company started on a much smaller scale than the nationwide access President Trump and Google CEO Sundar Pichai hinted at in mid-March. Verily, which is the life sciences company that sits under the Alphabet umbrella, has been working closely on a state-level with the governor’s office and is taking direction from public health officials as it scales.

Verily’s efforts are still small given the lack of availability of COVID-19 tests in California but it comes at a time when testing is critical to stopping the spread of the virus, which has hit states like California and New York hard. For now, the decision to test at-risk people via drive-thru sites is necessary until the U.S. Food and Drug Administration begins approving more at-home tests. Verily hopes the data it collects can help inform public health’s response to the outbreak in California.

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