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BARDA, 98point6 Partner to Further Develop COVID-19 Diagnostic Tool

NEW YORK – The US Department of Health and Human Services' Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority announced last week its partnership with 98point6 to further develop the company's virtual platform for use with COVID-19 patients. 

BARDA is providing a base award of $700,000 to 98point6 to fund the agreement.

As part of the agreement, BARDA will support a study with up to 10,000 patients who will receive access to 98point6's mobile app, originally developed for tracking influenza infections. Patients with respiratory illness symptoms or fevers receive automated COVID-19 screening through private messaging in the app and then are directed to testing locations for confirmatory diagnostic testing, BARDA said in a statement. The company will also create daily and weekly reports of illness activity based on zip code to identify COVID-19 "hot spots." Seattle-based 98point6 will be able to follow up with each patient and continue tracking symptoms and healthcare outcomes. 

Through the study, the patient cohort will receive unlimited free virtual care visits with 98point6's physicians until Jan. 8.

"By better triaging patients through their virtual care platform, 98point6 expects to reduce the load on the larger healthcare system, especially as the flu season draws near," BARDA said. 

98point6 combines artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide private, text-based diagnosis and treatment via its app from board-certified physicians.