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(English) Russian Internet majors join government COVID-19 response initiative

26 марта 2020

(English)

Last week the Russia’s sovereign fund RDIF, the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RUIE), as well as Internet majors Mail.ru Group and Yandex teamed up with the authorities to launch the ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Alliance.’

The Alliance aims to “ensure the rapid testing of people using the best available technology as well as the industrial security and continuous operation of the largest Russian enterprises,” according to official statements. Leading clinics and laboratory networks across the country will also be involved.

Under plans, a Russian-Japanese express diagnostics system will be rolled out in its pilot phase as early as next month in enterprises members of the RUIE. Touted as “one of the most effective for COVID-19 diagnostics,” received approval from the Russian health authorities, according to RDIF Head Kirill Dmitriev. 

The system uses an isothermal molecular diagnostic method, which is “as precise as the commonly used PCR technology (polymerase chain reaction), but takes 30 minutes instead of two hours or more,” according to official information. The testing kits are adapted to both stationary labs and portable mini-labs.

Yandex expressed readiness support the testing campaign with such services as “supporting volunteers’ work and medical brigades with the distributed logistics technologies” which are used by Yandex’s taxi-hailing and food delivery business units. 

Mail.ru Group’s taxi and delivery services will also be mobilized. In addition, the group intends to contribute to information campaigns to create “maximum awareness about the actual epidemic situation and self-protection advice.” 
“Time has come to join forces to contain the spread of the virus,” the group’s press service underlined. 

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