Apple’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund helps COPAN Diagnostics with $10 million to provide more than 15 million COVID-19 test kits for communities across the US country. “Teams at Apple, COPAN, and more than a dozen other US companies created innovative processes and developed new machinery for COPAN’s Southern California facilities, increasing test-kit production by close to 4,000 percent since 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.”
The Advanced Manufacturing Fund of Apple has been designed to encourage and improve strategic manufacturing and high-skill employment that will help fuel a new age of US technology-driven manufacturing. To date, more than $1.3 billion from the fund has been spent by Apple to boost American production and innovation. More than 450,000 supplier workers in all 50 states are funded by Apple.
COPAN has shipped these sample collection kits to medical facilities across the United State since May, including California, Wisconsin, and Texas hospitals.
In Temple, Texas, Dr. Aleta Bonner is a pediatric emergency medicine specialist and has been researching the symptoms of respiratory viruses for over two decades. She took time away from pediatric medicine to concentrate on gathering COVID-19 specimens and conducting a clinical study that would determine the most successful ways to screen for the virus as the pandemic caused a drastic increase in cases in her neighborhood. The COPAN COVID-19 testing kits were obtained by her hospital.
“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 accelerated its production and shipping timeline due to the continuing high demand for testing resources and built an entire team to ramp up this project, recruiting nearly 250 new employees who worked alongside Apple engineers, product designers, operations professionals, and others. Together, in a matter of weeks, the teams opened a brand new facility and built a state-of-the-art medical supply chain to meet the testing needs of the country and help communities form their responses.
One of COPAN’s newest hires is Gabriela Jimenez. At its Carlsbad, California, facility, she serves as a production supervisor, overseeing a team of 50 employees and ensuring that activities operate seamlessly through departments. For seven years, when the COVID-19 pandemic occurred, Jimenez previously worked as a manager at a Southern California pizza restaurant. When the restaurant shut down, she and more than 100 of her colleagues lost their jobs.
“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.”
“There was an all-around incredible level of dedication from the teams to be creative and nimble so we could quickly get this critical testing supplies out to customers across the country,” said Norman Sharples, CEO of COPAN Diagnostics. “The driver behind that was that everybody wanted to make a difference within a time frame where we could make a difference. 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.”