Friday, March 27, 2020

Tech giants to assist US govt in combating coronavirus

US-based global tech giants, including IBM, Amazon, Google and Microsoft, have partnered with the White House to "unleash the power of American supercomputing resources" for combating the novel coronavirus, President Donald Trump has said. 

Image used for representational purpose shows research assistant Parsa Parirokh, of RNA medicines company Arcturus Therapeutics, conducting research on a vaccine for novel coronavirus at a laboratory in San Diego, USA. Photograph: Reuters.

From volunteering to manufacturing masks and ventilators to ramping up production of essential medical supplies and general items, the country's private sector have joined America's war against coronavirus in a big way, Trump said on Sunday, while launching a new public-private consortium organised by the White House, the department of energy and tech company IBM. 
"The outpouring from the private sector (in the fight against coronavirus) has been extraordinary," he said. 
The public-private consortium will "unleash the power of American supercomputing resources" to fight the deadly viral infection, the president said. 
IBM, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, MIT, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, department of energy's National Laboratories, the National Science Foundation and the NASA will be primarily computing resources to help researchers discover new treatments and vaccines. 
"They'll be working along with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and all of the people that are working on this (covid-19 research)," Trump said. 
The NIH is the primary agency of the US government responsible for biomedical and public health research. 
Trump said US-based multinational conglomerate Honeywell will immediately expand its personal protective equipment manufacturing operations in Rhode Island to produce millions of additional N95 masks for the US government strategic national stockpile. These masks will then be delivered to various States. 
"This expansion is already underway and it's going to provide a lot of jobs for that state (Rhode Island), probably around 500," Trump said. 
The president said the White House has been receiving calls from private sector companies, volunteering to manufacture essential commodities. 
"Hanes, who makes things of cotton...They call us and said we're going to make millions of masks. We got a call today the head of 3M, they're going to make tremendous products, and they're more or less in that business," he said, adding that major auto manufacturers, like General Motors and Ford, too, have talked to the White House about manufacturing ventilators.

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