Amazon's homegrown COVID-19 test nets FDA green light for employee screening

Amazon has received authorization from the FDA for its very own COVID-19 test as part of its employee screening program.

According to agency documents, workers in the retail giant’s offices, warehouses and fulfillment centers may be automatically assigned regular testing appointments, typically every two weeks, though individuals can voluntarily elect whether to participate.

The nasal swab tests will be approved under a standing-order prescription from a contracted healthcare provider, the FDA said, and administered in person, under supervision via a telehealth link or self-performed while unsupervised at home or at work, with samples being mailed to laboratories for analysis.

While a negative result would not rule out the chance of COVID-19 if a person is showing symptoms, a positive reading will trigger an automatic message directing the employee to stay home or immediately leave the job site and to contact their personal healthcare provider, the documents said.

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In addition, people who test negative will be continuously tested in pools of up to five samples. The molecular diagnostic and collection kit were developed by an Amazon subsidiary dubbed STS Lab Holdco.

Amazon first began outfitting its own COVID-19 testing labs for employees during the early stages of the pandemic, when it announced it may pursue regular testing of all workers internationally after an internal pilot project.