Apple’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund, which donated a total of $10 million to COPAN Diagnostics, has assisted in the shipment of 15 million COVID-19 test kits, the company has announced.
With the assistance of Apple’s fund, COPAN and other US companies have been able to develop new machinery to produce COVID-19 test kits for US-based communities. The rise in production of said test kits has grown to a staggering 4000 percent since last April.
“We are proud our Advanced Manufacturing Fund is supporting companies like COPAN who are playing a critical role in the fight against COVID-19 and assisting healthcare professionals and communities across the country,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. “This collaboration helped produce, ship, and deliver millions of sample collection kits to hospitals from coast to coast — and we believe it is this unique combination of American manufacturing and innovation that will help us emerge from this crisis and build a safer world for us all.”
Based in Southern California, COPAN has been able to ship sample collection kits to medical facilities across the US including Wisconsin, Texas, and California. Dr. Aleta Bonner, a pediatric emergency medicine physician in Temple, Texas, pivoted from pediatric care to focus on studying effective ways to test the virus. Bonner’s hospital received COPAN’s test kits.
“The preferred specimen swabs are definitely COPAN’s because of their superior collection capabilities,” said Dr. Bonner. “And to hear how they ramped up to support those of us in the healthcare field — that is just an amazing feeling. We’re all in this together because we can only do our job as well as the support that’s behind us.”
COPAN hired 250 new employees to work alongside Apple engineers, product designers, and operations professionals in order to ramp up the production of test kits. The teams were able to open up a new facility in a matter of weeks and begin working on meeting high demand through using state-of-the-art medical technology.
Ex-pizza restaurant manager Gabriela Jimenez was one of COPAN’s new hires. After COVID-19 hit, Jimenez and 100 of her colleagues were affected by the loss of their job when their restaurant close their doors. Jimenez transitioned into a new role as a manufacturing supervisor, overseeing the work of 50 employees.
“I am really grateful that I was able to find this opportunity because a lot of people out there are unemployed, they’re struggling,” said Jimenez. “It means a lot that I was given a chance to work in such a different industry, and for a company that contributes to something greater. COPAN is doing something that makes an impact out there.”
Apple’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund has been designed to support the innovative production and high-skill jobs required to propel technology-driven manufacturing in the US. Apple has already invested $1.3 billion from the fund into US-based manufacturing and other innovations, supporting 450,000 supplier jobs across the country.