Apple-funded COPAN ships over 15 million COVID-19 test kits

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With investment from Apple's Advanced Manufacturing Fund, medical firm COPAN Diagnostics hired almost 250 people, created a new medical facility, and has shipped more than 15 million coronavirus sample collection kits across the US.

Following Apple's May 2020 donation of $10 million, teams from Apple worked with COPAN and over a dozen other US firms to develop machinery and processes to produce COVID-19 test kits. Apple says that from April 2020, production increased by close to 4,000%.

"We are proud our Advanced Manufacturing Fund is supporting companies like COPAN who are playing a critical role in the fight against COVID-19," said Apple COO Jeff Williams in a statement, "and assisting healthcare professionals and communities across the country."

"This collaboration helped produce, ship, and deliver millions of sample collection kits to hospitals from coast to coast," he continued, "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."

With the support of both Apple's Advanced Manufacturing Fund and the work of Apple engineers, product designers and more, COPAN opened a brand-new facility. It set up what Apple describes as a state of the art medical supply chain within weeks.

The testing kits produced by the new Southern California facility have been distributed around the US.

"The preferred specimen swabs are definitely COPAN's because of their superior collection capabilities," said Dr Aleta Bonner, pediatric emergency medicine physician in Temple, Texas. Dr Bonner has been studying respiratory diseases for more than 20 years, and during the pandemic has been working on testing for coronavirus.

"And to hear how they ramped up to support those of us in the healthcare field — that is just an amazing feeling," she continued. "We're all in this together because we can only do our job as well as the support that's behind us."

Staff at COPAN's new medical facility
Staff at COPAN's new medical facility

COPAN Diagnostics CEO Norman Sharples says Apple was "remarkable" in the process.

"There was an all around incredible level of dedication from the teams to be creative and nimble so we could quickly get these critical testing supplies out to customers across the country," he said.

"The driver behind that was that everybody wanted to make a difference within a time frame where we could make a difference," continued Sharples. "Apple was a remarkable partner in making that possible, and we're so grateful to all of our American manufacturing partners who designed, built, and shipped equipment in record time."

Tim Cook has previously described the investment and assistance as an example of how Apple executives "turned the company upside down" in the search for ways to help combat COVID-19.

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