MEMS in the Fight Against Covid-19

The race against time to fight the Covid-19 pandemic has motivated a global flurry of activity and collaboration by technology companies.

On March 21, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave emergency authorization to California’s Cepheid to sell a new test for the rapid detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes Covid-19. Cepheid, founded by Kurt Petersen, Allen Northrup and five others in 1996, has been well known in the MEMS community for commercializing microfluidic chip-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis machines. This is not the first time Cepheid has responded quickly to a biological threat; after the 2001 anthrax terrorist attacks in the USA, Cepheid was the first to provide rapid anthrax detection capabilities to the U.S. Postal Service, and still does today.

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