What role does a printed circuit board manufacturer play in the coronavirus pandemic?
Turns out, a vital one.
Sierra Circuits of Sunnyvale provides printed circuit boards and other prototypes to dozens of customers. One of them being Santa Clara-based molecular diagnostics company Cepheid, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized to make a COVID-19 test that can deliver results in 45 minutes.
The Cepheid test is processed on its Gene Xpert Testing platform—one of 5,000 systems in the U.S. and 23,000 worldwide—meaning healthcare providers won’t need training to administer the diagnostic assay. All of the analysis happens on site, which is a lot quicker than sending anything to a laboratory.
“An accurate test delivered close to the patient can be transformative—and help alleviate the pressure that the emergence of the 2019-nCoV outbreak has put on healthcare facilities that need to properly allocate their respiratory isolation resources,” David Persing, chief medical and technology officer at Cepheid, explains on the firm’s website.
Because the FDA cleared the Cepheid test, it can be used in all healthcare settings.
“It’s a huge deal to see how many customers we touch that are working on COVID-19 and have told us to stay open to do work,” Amit Bahl, the director of sales and marketing for Sierra Circuits, told San Jose Inside.
Government defense contractor Lockheed Martin and pharmaceutical and biotech company Beckman Coulter wrote official letters to federal officials identifying Sierra Circuits as essential to ensuring the safety of all in this country.
“Honestly, our manufacturing is running at a lesser degree of course, and we’re using this as a way to motivate people who are coming to the factory to move and test the product because there is so much manual labor involved in building electronics,” Bahl said. “I didn’t realize the extent of how many of our medical advice customers are using electronics to work on COVID-19 related projects. It’s pretty amazing.”