CNBC reports Amazon has been working on a cure for the common cold for three years. Project Gesundheit (yes, really) is the work of a team under a research and development arm of the company’s cloud services, AWS. The team is working on several approaches to a vaccine, which would be a boon for Amazon’s growing healthcare projects.
What’s Lex Luthor up to? — Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is involved in a pact called Haven with Berkshire Hathaway and J.P. Morgan to improve healthcare for their respective employees. Amazon is working on a virtual medical clinic for its workers called Amazon Care that would also supply home nurse visits.
Keeping healthcare in-house and finding a way to limit how often people are sick is a brand new level of dystopia. Amazon could take care of its injured workers itself, but it would be far more profitable to prevent them from getting sick in the first place, right?
CNBC cited a 2003 University of Michigan study that found common colds cost the U.S. economy about $40 billion a year due to the combination of decreased productivity and doctors visits. Between the modern healthcare landscape and the gig economy pushing people to work multiple jobs, the odds of that figure decreasing since then are, well, slim to nonexistent.
Amazon’s not close, but it’s not alone — As terrifying as it is to think about the richest man in the world owning the vaccine to an illness virtually all of us experience at least once a year, finding a cure is hard. Though most colds are caused by a rhinovirus, there are more than 160 different strains and they love to mutate.
Researchers at Stanford and the University of California are taking their own approach while the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub (yes, that Zuckerberg) is also pitching in. Which billionaire would you prefer solved one of the hardest riddles the human body has to face? Sorry, you can't choose "none of the above."