Amazon has redirected qualified staff to build a lab to test employees for the COVID-19 virus.
In the early days of the pandemic, the U.S. struggled on a federal level to provide enough testing to contain the virus' spread. Federal regulators quickly cut red tape to allow more diagnostic companies to create their own tests. However, commercial labs have had difficulty gaining the equipment needed to expand these efforts.
But Amazon wants to help with the testing, saying in a blog post that it will help the economy return if there is regular testing "on a global scale across all industries.
"A team of Amazonians with a variety of skills—from research scientists and program managers to procurement specialists and software engineers—have moved from their normal day jobs onto a dedicated team to work on this initiative," the post read. "We have begun assembling the equipment we need to build our first lab and hope to start testing small numbers of our front line employees soon."
The retail giant has been criticized for not doing enough to protect delivery and warehouse employees who continue to work to meet growing demand by consumers sheltering-in-place.
Amazon doesn't know how many tests its lab will produce or what impact its testing could have. But widespread testing would help stop future resurgence of the virus.
Last week, Reuters reported that Amazon was consulting with the CEOs at Abbott Laboratories and Thermo Fisher Scientific , two of the country's largest testing manufacturers, to find ways to more quickly test Amazon employees.
"Unfortunately, today we live in a world of scarcity where COVID-19 testing is heavily rationed," Amazon's blog post read.