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Daily COVID-19 Updates: April 7

April 7, 2020
COVID-19 Testing Needs a Reboot; 3M and White House Come to Terms on Mask Exports; Manufacturers Doing Their Part

One of the manufacturing stories that will have to be told, after the coronavirus has passed, is the ultimate impact of socially-conscious manufacturers attempting to contribute by revolutionizing their production lines to make products which save lives.

Manufacturers making ventilators and personal protective equipment for use by the doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals on the front line are strategically critical to keeping those medical professionals safe. Big name automakers like GM and Ford, as well as smaller firms, have revolutionized their supply chains and production lines to make what contributions they can to help the fight along.

The race to produce—respirators, face shields, surgical gowns, ventilators—the critical products has been a feverish one. It’s unclear at the moment how effective these drastic moves will be, but for the moment, each move these manufacturers make towards aiding the front lines—each mask delivered, each ventilator completed—has the potential to save lives.

COVID-19 Testing Needs A Reboot

Testing for COVID-19 in the United States has not followed the same successful rollout as it has in other countries. At least one reason for that is that an early test developed for the virus ran into supply chain failures with its reagents—one of the chemicals, through test failure or manufacturing errors, threw off the results of the test and could give false positives. A new test for the virus developed by PathogenDx reportedly requires less than the usual number of reagents, which should make the test less prone to error compared to the earliest tests. Read the full story here.

3M Will Import Respirators, Maintain Exports to Canada and Mexico

On April 3, 3M responded to requests by President Trump to import respirators made by overseas facilities back to the United States and to cease exporting masks made in the USA to Canada and Mexico with ‘yes’ and ‘no,’ respectively. This week, 3M announced they had come to an agreement with the White House to import masks to the United States from China without cutting off access to masks for Mexico and Canada. Read the full story here.

Manufacturers Doing Their Part

IndustryWeek’s coverage of manufacturers making concrete moves in the fight against COVID-19 continues as small- and medium-sized manufacturers announce projects initiated and products delivered. Fitz Frames, a manufacturer of glasses for children, has shifted production to make protective eyewear for medical professionals. Read the full story here.

Safe-Strap Co., a manufacturer of child-safety products, sent its employees home to make critically-needed face masks so they could contribute to the effort. The move allows the company to maintain reduced production in the factory with more space between workers, while also contributing to the pandemic relief effort. Read the full story here.

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