In a decisive and responsible move to protect its factory employees from the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, Bruker Daltonics has implemented a comprehensive COVID-19 testing program at its Bremen facility. Using the Bremen site as a pilot center, the company plans to roll out this key initiative to other Bruker locations across Europe.
As well as protecting Bruker Daltonics' valued workforce and their families, the major testing campaign will help limit the spread of coronavirus as well as secure the company's business operations - with the goal of continuing to provide and maintain essential research and analysis instrumentation to scientists throughout the world. At a time when laboratories across the globe are under intense pressure to deliver test results, it is important that our instrumentation systems and support teams continue to offer a reliable solution.
This campaign is part of the company's wider protection strategy, which takes into consideration other effective measures such as social distancing, hygiene plans, following WHO and government guidelines and wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) such as protective gloves and face masks.
Primary employees involved in manufacturing and assembling our instruments on site, for whom remote working is not a practical option, and those who work directly to support customers and other external contacts will be offered the test. The test is offered on a voluntary basis and will be offered to all employees once approved internally.
Currently, Bruker Daltonics is using PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing, which directly detects the presence of SARS-CoV-2 (coronavirus) and, therefore, indicates whether an employee has the virus before symptoms of the disease are present. The company is currently investigating whether an immunotesting program can be added, if published data would warrant this, to offer further protection as lockdown restrictions start to lift.
Employees who want to be tested register their request via a manager, who then provides a testing date and a data privacy declaration form which each candidate must complete prior to testing.
For the test itself, a sample by nose or throat swab is taken by the site doctor who of course will wear appropriate PPE: a face shield and safety mask (FFP2), a laboratory coat, and non-powder rubber gloves. Patient documentation with barcodes is provided by the test laboratory for the doctor.
All samples are packaged directly in a UN3373-compliant container and then into suitable surrounding packaging before being transported within 24 hours by courier to the laboratory. To ensure sample safety and integrity, each box must include a UN3373 label, a polystyrene case, an inner container with absorbent material, and the words 'Medical Samples (Medizinische Proben)' clearly visible.
Each sample is analysed by an accredited laboratory via PCR test for SARS-CoV-2. The results are returned in xx days for a swift response (client to confirm).
Once the laboratory has obtained the PCR test results, they are mailed to the site doctor who then informs the employee. If the result is positive, the laboratory advises the employee immediately by phone via the doctor, who also informs Bruker's test coordinator. The laboratory also informs the medical authority according to national guidelines.
By following this protocol, infected employees can begin quarantine straightaway. This route also gives the test coordinator the earliest possible opportunity to track, test and identify potential contacts so that they too can self-isolate, thereby keeping the virus off the factory floor, safeguarding other Bruker Daltonics employees and protecting the essential work of our business to benefit the work of the scientific community as a whole.