Bosch is aiming to cut the time taken for the Covid-19 test developed with a UK laboratory to 45 minutes, down from the current 150 minutes. It has also developed a fully automated system for making face masks and is making this available for free to third party equipment makers.
The company is ramping up production of its Vivalytic test system five-fold, even though the system will not receive CE approval until the end of May 2020. “Wherever possible, we want to contribute our expertise to efforts to contain the pandemic, for instance through our newly developed rapid Covid-19 test and our Vivalytic analysis device,” said Dr Volkmar Denner, chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch. “Demand is huge. We’re doing everything we can to significantly increase production, and will increase capacity five-fold over our original plans by the end of the year.”
Bosch intends to produce more than a million of the current Covid-19 tests, developed with Randox Laboratories in Northern Ireland, this year, and to increase this to three million next year. In addition to existing laboratory tests in the early stages, the Vivalytic analysis device is to be used initially in hospitals and doctors’ offices, where it will be used primarily to protect medical staff, for whom the rapid availability of test results in less than two-and-a-half hours is crucial.
The rapid test is already being delivered to European customers with a “research use only” label and can be used following validation.
Bosch has already started production of face masks at thirteen Bosch plants in nine countries, from Bari in Italy, to Bursa in Turkey, to Anderson in the US.It is currently setting up two fully automatic production lines in Stuttgart-Feuerbach with further lines to follow at its German Erbach location as well as in India and Mexico. “It took our special-purpose machinery unit just a few weeks