A new leak claims Amazon’s Grand Challenge skunkworks division is secretly working on an effort to cure the common cold. Allegedly called Project Gesundheit, this effort is said to involve a mission to develop some sort of solution for the illness, which may include a vaccine or something else entirely. Such a preventative treatment, if one is successfully developed, could save the economy billions of dollars per year.
The common cold is a typically mild but infectious virus that can cause issues like sneezing and congestion. Though it clears up in a couple of weeks, the infectious nature of the common cold means it can spread through a company, resulting in employees taking sick days and the loss of productivity. The common cold is estimated to cost the US economy around $40 billion every year.
According to a new report from CNBC, Amazon’s Grand Challenge has technologists and scientists working on a vaccine — or something similar — to prevent this cold altogether. Whether it will be successful is another matter; the common cold is caused by many different viruses, meaning it could be tricky to deal with all of them.
In addition, and though the common cold can result in taking some time off from work or school, the illness itself is rarely a big deal and so experts point out that any potential side effects from treatment would have to be very mild to make the solution worth it.
The report claims that the Grand Challenge skunkworks group has been tasked with figuring out solutions for big issues, including ones that may have a large beneficial impact on humanity as a whole. It’s unclear how far along the team may in their work; the report doesn’t say how long this alleged effort has been underway. As expected, Amazon hasn’t commented on the claims.