• Bill Gates has rolled out SCAN, the at-home coronavirus test kit he funded
  • SCAN will only be available to Seattle residents
  • Interested individuals need to enroll to receive the test kit

Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates announced that COVID-19 at-home test kits are being rolled out in Seattle beginning May 13 under the Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network (SCAN) program. The Microsoft co-founder is funding the program through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help scientists learn more about the novel coronavirus.

Gates said in a blog post that SCAN is not a substitute for the needed widespread testing for health officials to determine the scale of the virus infection.

"SCAN is testing a sample of people in the Seattle region, including those who are healthy as well as those who are feeling sick," Gates wrote. "As SCAN gathers more test results in the weeks ahead, researchers expect the new data to provide a better sense of the number of infections and serve as one source to help answer other questions, like when physical distancing measures can be relaxed."

The program will enable Seattle residents to take a nasal swab test by themselves. After taking samples, they need to send this to a designated laboratory without leaving their house. Thus, residents prevent any risks of exposing themselves to the virus.

To be part of the program, interested residents may enroll online and wait for approval via email. Those who will be approved will receive the SCAN kit at home and then also arrange for a courier to pick up their samples.

If the samples are positive, a Seattle public health worker will get in touch with the resident for the next steps to safeguard their health. According to CBS News, early results of SCAN have uncovered a number of residents with COVID-19 mild symptoms.

SCAN is running tests of up to 300 people a day, but Gates said there are plans to increase this number in the weeks to come. Gates, however, did not say if SCAN will be rolled out in other cities in the U.S.

Bill Gates is seen here. Wikimedia Commons

Meanwhile, as of May 13, King County in the state of Washington has 7,137 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 513 deaths.