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Tech Giants Boost Efforts to Deal With Coronavirus Crisis

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The coronavirus pandemic is showing no signs of letting up, with death toll in the United States alone hitting 400, as of Mar 23, 2020, according to a Statista report. Globally, the virus is estimated to have caused over 16,565 deaths and infected nearly 391,947 people.

Recent breakthrough developments to contain the virus by developing AI-driven self-assessment tests, diagnostic kits and automation of test results to accelerate the fight against the pandemic, highlight the immense scope of technology in the space.

Many countries are in the containment stage and are making every effort to prevent stage 3, via lockdown measures. Self-isolation is being propagated. Consequently, this has resulted in a demand for technically advanced ways to efficiently manage the virus. This, in turn, has put the spotlight on the technology sector.

The tech stalwarts, including Microsoft (MSFT - Free Report) , International Business Machines (IBM - Free Report) and Alphabet (GOOGL - Free Report) , backed by strength in AI, augmented & virtual Reality (AR/VR), machine learning (ML), and data analytics capabilities, are leaving no stone unturned to revolutionize the healthcare system, which is currently grappling with the coronavirus crisis.

Microsoft’s Open Source Dataset Initiative Noteworthy

Microsoft and Adaptive Biotechnologies (ADPT - Free Report) recently extended partnership in a bid to aid public health officials and researchers to access and track data pertaining to COVID-19 patient immune responses. Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings (LH - Free Report) , Providence and Illumina, have also joined the initiative.

The open source dataset will be deployed on Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, Azure. Microsoft’s robust Azure AI and ML capabilities will complement Adaptive’s strength in “immunosequencing” technology.

Increasing adoption of Azure to support healthcare workloads provide the cloud platform with immense exposure in the domain, which is a positive. Robust adoption of the company’s offerings is instilling confidence in the stock, which currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
 

Moreover, the tech giant is undertaking efforts to combat fake news and misinformation pertaining to coronavirus spread.

IBM Utilizing Supercomputing Power to Combat COVID-19

IBM in collaboration with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the U.S. Department of Energy among others, recently announced COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium.

The consortium is aimed at bringing supercomputing power to help researchers analyze COVID-19 treatment with data-driven predictive models and devise potential cures including the development of a vaccine.

Consortium partners include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, and Microsoft. Moreover, fed agencies including NASA, are also part of the initiative.

 

Notably, IBM currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Alphabet’s Contribution Deserves a Special Mention

Alphabet’s Google recently launched a website in the United States to bring about more awareness among people about the highly contagious virus. The website offers information related to coronavirus symptoms, treatment and preventive remedies from the World Health Organization. It consists of resources and links that are solely focused on COVID-19.

Moreover, Alphabet’s health-care division, Verily, recently launched a COVID-19 screening and testing website under Project Baseline. Currently, the project is limited to California residents with special focus on Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. Notably, Verily is in talks with the State of California to further expand the project to other counties.

 

The latest efforts of Alphabet are likely to instill investor optimism in this stock. Notably, the stock carries a Zacks Rank #3.

Amazon’s Efforts Can’t Be Ignored

Cloud computing and retail giant, Amazon (AMZN - Free Report) has been leaving no stone unturned to address the coronavirus crisis, through innovative initiatives. Amazon’s medical unit, Amazon Care is set to address delivery and logistics and is involved in delivery and pick up of at-home test kits, per CNBC. The initiative is based in Seattle’s King County, which happens to be one of the regions of Washington severely affected by the pandemic.

Also, the company’s cloud computing arm, AWS, is investing $20 million to speed up the development of faster COVID-19 testing. Notably, AWS has announced a new program named AWS Diagnostic Development Initiative.

This program is aimed at accelerating diagnostic research and development in a bid to speed up the detection of COVID-19. The speedy and accurate detection of this virus is likely to result in accelerated treatments and shorten the course of this epidemic.

 

Notably, Amazon currently carries a Zacks Rank #3.

Conclusion

The coronavirus crisis is set to revolutionize healthcare sector. Digital healthcare is becoming the need of the hour. Assessment and monitoring of patients remotely is expected to gain steam in the days ahead.

Markedly, the crisis is raising questions on collect-your-own specimen kits. Measures to ensure clinical safety of such kits and other emerging do-it-on-your-own healthcare initiatives need to be regulated in an effective manner.

We believe tech giants are well poised to capitalize on the emerging demands for digital overhaul of healthcare industry, triggered by the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

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