Apple today announced it is awarding $10 million from its Advanced Manufacturing Fund to COPAN Diagnostics, a market leader in sample collection kits that play a critical role in COVID-19 testing. This funding will allow COPAN Diagnostics to rapidly accelerate their supply of sample collection kits for hospitals across the United States, expanding production from several thousand today to more than one million kits per week by early July. As part of this effort, Apple will support COPAN Diagnostics’ expansion to a new, larger facility in Southern California, with advanced equipment that Apple is helping design. This expansion is expected to create more than 50 new jobs.
“We feel a deep sense of responsibility to do everything we can to help medical workers, patients, and communities support the global response to COVID-19,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, in a statement. “COPAN is one of the world’s most innovative manufacturers of sample collection kits for COVID-19 testing, and we’re thrilled to partner with them so they can expand as we work to address this critical issue for our nation. I couldn’t be prouder of our teams for bringing all of their energy, passion, and innovative spirit to supporting the country’s COVID-19 response.”
“We’re excited to forge this new relationship with Apple, whose teams are already making a huge difference with our efforts to scale up the production of our sample collection and transport kits,” said Norman Sharples, CEO of COPAN Diagnostics, in a statement. “Collection and transport kits are a critical component in the fight against COVID-19. At COPAN, we’re excited and grateful for this partnership with Apple as our strong beliefs of innovation, quality, and excellence in manufacturing and design are perfectly aligned. Apple’s operational expertise will help us increase delivery of important pre-analytical tools for medical professionals across the country at this critical time.”
Apple is sourcing equipment and materials for COPAN Diagnostics from companies across the US, including equipment Apple is helping design from K2 Kinetics, based in York, Pennsylvania, and MWES in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
COPAN is a global player in the field of specimen collection and preservation for infectious disease diagnostics. The company’s sample collection kits have revolutionized the diagnostic industry and play a critical role in the COVID-19 testing process. The company’s unique quantitative approach to pre-analytics led them to invent flocked swabs in 2003, a revolutionary device comprising of a molded plastic applicator stick that has variable tips coated with Nylon fibers allowing for quick uptake and complete elution of the sample. COPAN’s UTM is the leading transport medium for collection, transport, preservation, and long-term freeze storage of clinical specimens containing viruses.
Apple’s Support for the Worldwide Response to COVID-19
Apple has donated tens of millions of dollars toward the global COVID-19 response, including Global Citizen and America’s Food Fund. In addition, Apple designed, tested, and distributed almost 10 million face shields and sourced over 30 million face masks for healthcare professionals in hard-hit areas. Apple also developed a COVID-19 symptom-checking website and app in partnership with the CDC, and announced a collaboration with Google to develop COVID-19 contact tracing technology to help governments and health agencies reduce the spread of the virus, with user privacy and security central to the design.
Apple’s impact also extends to its range of innovative services. Apple News is connecting users with trusted information from reliable sources with its dedicated COVID-19 section, and Apple has worked with everyone from Oprah to Lady Gaga to help customers find information, entertainment, and ways to contribute to charitable causes through Apple TV.
Apple in the United States
Apple is on track to reach its commitment of contributing $350 billion to the US economy over a five year period. The company supports 2.4 million jobs across the US, including 90,000 direct employees in all 50 states.
Apple has already invested more than $1 billion of its $5 billion Advanced Manufacturing Fund in American companies fostering innovation and growth in the US manufacturing sector. That includes $450 million distributed to Corning Incorporated in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, to support its research and development into state-of-the-art glass processes, equipment, and materials integral to the delivery of next-generation consumer devices; $390 million to Finisar in Sherman, Texas, to increase its R&D spending and high-volume production of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers; and $10 million allocated to the Elysis aluminum partnership to bring revolutionary advancements in green aluminum manufacturing to the commercial market.
MacDailyNews Take: Thank you, Apple, for helping to rapidly increase COVID-19 testing capacity!
We need to significantly ramp up not only the number of tests, but the capacity to perform them, so that you don’t have a situation where you have a test but it can’t be done because there isn’t a swab, or because there isn’t extraction media, or not the right vial. — Dr. Anthony Fauci, April 23, 2020
“State health officials and medical providers around the country say they are unable to test as many people as they would like. Many of them say the biggest challenge is getting not the diagnostic tests themselves but the supplies to process them, including chemical reagents, swabs and pipettes. Manufacturers are facing a huge global demand as every country fights the pandemic, with many attempting the widest-scale testing they have ever undertaken,” The New York Times reported on April 28, 2020.
“The corporate parent of COPAN Diagnostics, COPAN Group, is based in the Lombardy region of Italy, one of the worst-hit regions in the world during the pandemic, and stepped up production as demand surge,” Reuters reports. “In California, COPAN Diagnostics makes specialized nasal swabs to collect samples for Covid-19 tests, along with vials and sterile media used to transport those swabs to labs for testing.”
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