Apple awards $10 million to COPAN Diagnostics for COVID-19 tests

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.”

COPAN’s sample collection kits have revolutionized the diagnostics industry and play a critical role in the COVID-19 testing process.
COPAN’s sample collection kits have revolutionized the diagnostics industry and play a critical role in the COVID-19 testing process.

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 financial and operational support will help COPAN increase supply to more than one million kits per week by early July.
Apple’s financial and operational support will help COPAN increase supply to more than one million kits per week by early July.

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.”

See also: Insight into FDA’s Revised Policy on Antibody Tests: Prioritizing Access and Accuracy – U.S Food and Drug Administration

1 Comment

  1. If leaders want the country to get back to work while minimizing the possibility of devastating 2nd wave, then this is THE No. 1, easy, cheap, prerequisite. A potential vaccine is still MONTHS away, but we should be able to do testing NOW.

    Germany, for example, can test 800K people per week, close to 1% of their 83 million population. The USA, on the other hand, can current only test around 700K people per week, and we have a population of 330 million. We should be able to test well over 1 million people per week if we want to get the economy rolling again without unnecessary risk. Also, you can’t test people, then have them wait two weeks to find out the results! That is useless!

    Because of this capability, Germany will be able to resume their pro soccer league next week (in empty stadiums, of course) but they should be able to at least finish the season. Meanwhile, America has no idea if sports will even be able to resume in the Fall.

    Just FYI

    “Germany released its [COVID testing] protocol on Jan. 17, but the U.S. decided to have the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention develop its own. That protocol was published Jan. 28.

    The CDC’s test was different and more complicated than the German test. It worked in the CDC lab, but when the materials went out to state labs, results were inconsistent. The CDC had to resend packages with new chemical reagents.

    …All of this added up to a delay in testing capabilities, which resulted in fewer Americans being tested and an overall slower U.S. response compared with other countries.”

    “While it might seem odd that the Trump administration shunned the WHO’s coronavirus test protocol, it’s normal for countries with advanced research capabilities to want to develop a measure they trust.

    “I don’t know if WHO agreed to sell the kits to us, but it should never have been something we needed to do given our technological expertise and the fact we would have ‘taken kits from low- and middle-income countries’ that otherwise could not make or afford them,” said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, in an email.”

    https://khn.org/news/biden-falsely-blames-trump-administration-for-rejecting-who-coronavirus-test-kits-that-were-never-offered/

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