While everyone knows coronavirus test kits are vital to the “war effort” against COVID-19, not many people consider the many hands, hearts and minds that go into their invention and fabrication. And many don’t appreciate the sheer speed of the entire production process, from initial research to finished, packaged product sitting on the doorstep of hospitals and testing centers.
There are the virologists, of course, who did the actual research on isolating the novel coronavirus. Then the technicians who took that raw research and devised the actual nuts-and-bolts of the testing kit itself. Finally, there are the many manufacturers who participated in making all the necessary components of the kit.
There were metal manufacturers. Paper Manufacturers (for the cardboard box packaging). And plastic manufacturers, including a certain plastic injection molding company in Illinois. Yep, AdvanTech Plastics has been on the forefront of the fight against COVID-19 from the beginning, manufacturing plastic caps for hand sanitizer bottles, for one thing. And now using plastic injection molding to produce “sleeve” caps for polypropylene tubes that are essential to the latest coronavirus testing kits.
Working hand-in-hand with a Chicago-based pharmaceutical company, AdvanTech Plastics mounted an all-hands-on-deck effort to churn out the plastic caps as fast as humanly — and “machine-ly” — possible. The result was a stunning success: the world’s first 5-minute testing kit, which, as the name implies, could take a nasal swab sample and determine within 5 minutes if it was positive or negative for the virus. Armed with that on-the-spot testing capability, frontline health workers could tell people to either get on with their lives (taking precautions, of course) or immediately quarantine for 14 days. Now those same kits are available for in-home use for as little as $25.
Of course, it’s impossible to say how many lives that kind of immediacy saved but estimates of tens of thousands are not out of the question. And it was all possible through the combined efforts of medical researchers, technicians and manufacturers.
And one certain plastic injection molding manufacturer in Woodstock, IL.