Apple commits $10M to help boost COVID-19 testing

Apple is putting money from its Advanced Manufacturing Fund into sample collection kit manufacturer, COPAN Diagnostics.

Apple, Covid-19, Jeff Williams, COPAN Diagnostics, testing, iPhone, Mac
Gerd Altmann (CC0)

Apple continues to look for ways in which it can use its platforms and power to help in the struggle against COVID-19; now, it has poured $10 million from its Advanced Manufacturing Fund into sample collection kit manufacturer COPAN Diagnostics.

A big increase in production

While some find it hard to accept, COVID-19 looks to be part of life for some time to come, and in order to return to something like normal all countries need to massively expand their testing regimes.

You see this in Australia, where infection and casualty rates have at last shrunk to a point at which it seems rational to begin opening for business again – though with extensive testing at every Apple retail store.

The challenge is that we need to ramp up the manufacturing of test kits. This is what Apple hopes to help with under the new investment.

COPAN Diagnostics currently makes several thousand sample collection kits a week.  But the new money should help it ramp manufacturing up to “more than a million kits” per week by early July, Apple said.

These will be made available to hospitals across the U.S. Take a look at this post for an idea as to why these collection kits matter.

More than the money

Apple isn’t just throwing money at the wall and hoping it will stick – the company is getting deeply involved in the task.

Not only is it supporting COPAN’s expansion into a larger manufacturing facility in California, it is also helping the company design advanced new manufacturing equipment.

In a statement, Apple’s chief operating officer, Jeff Williams, said:

“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.”

This certainly seems to be the case, given the numerous actions the company has taken – and continues to take – in response to the crisis. And while there is a case to argue that the world’s wealthiest people and companies should all dig really deep at a time of human struggle, it is refreshing to see this one try to meet that challenge.

Apple’s teams seem to have been incredibly focused on the task since the gravity of the challenge became clear.

Apple takes responsibility – others should emulate this

It has made dozens of changes across its platforms, created a COVID-19 information and symptom checking website, donated tens of millions of dollars, distributed millions of face shields and sourced more than 30 million face masks for healthcare professionals in hard-hit areas.

It is also working with Google to develop a contact-tracing solution that provides health authorities with the information they need while also protecting user privacy. It is unfortunate that the UK, with the world’s second highest death rate, has neglected to choose that solution in a triumph of exceptionalism.

Everything Apple has done and continues to do is a message to any enterprise that when you lead with positive vision at the top, you’ll often find that vision echoes across your company, customers and partners:

“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,” Williams said.

What is COPAN?

COPAN is a global player in the field of specimen collection and preservation for infectious disease diagnostics. The sample collection kits it makes have “revolutionized the diagnostic industry” and play a critical role in the COVID-19 testing process, the partners explain.

Norman Sharples, CEO of COPAN Diagnostics:

“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.”

The company has pushed itself to address the challenges of the pandemic. In February, an executive revealed that the company’s staff massively increased their working shifts in an attempt to cope with the demand for its kits, moving to seven-day shifts.

The company is not alone in this market, with similar demands across all manufacturers. Smaller tech firms are also exploring new ways in which they can improve the testing process.

Please explore these additional reports for insights on how best to manage the current situation:

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Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

  
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