Bayer is undertaking further measures to support the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. At various sites in Germany, the company is making available more than 40 virus diagnostics devices from its research operations, enabling Germany’s COVID-19 analysis capacity to be increased by several thousand tests daily. Bayer is also freeing up specially trained personnel for this purpose. At its Berlin campus, Bayer is establishing a two-story testing laboratory, and in North Rhine-Westphalia, the company is providing equipment to certified external testing laboratories.
“We want to rapidly and effectively support the fight against the coronavirus,” says Dr. Jörg Möller, head of Research and Development in Bayer’s Pharmaceuticals Division. “The more tests conducted, the fewer infections remain undetected. This enables infection chains to be reconstructed, which in turn helps to slow the outbreak.”
“Bayer is currently making an extraordinary effort in the fight against the corona pandemic. All I can do right now is to say thank you – to the company and to its employees,” said Karl-Josef Laumann, Minister of Labor, Health and Social Affairs for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. “The company is setting an example in terms of entrepreneurial responsibility and solidarity in these times, and thus represents the values that have made North Rhine-Westphalia what it is today.”
At the Berlin site alone, more than 140 employees have volunteered in the past few days to staff the new testing laboratory. Bayer is giving them a leave of absence from their regular jobs for this purpose. The equipment needed for the tests comes from all areas of research and development at Bayer. In the future, it will be possible to conduct up to 1,000 additional SARS-CoV-2 tests each day just in Berlin. Special precautions will be taken by highly trained personnel to protect the employees when taking and preparing samples. Bayer is working closely with the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin to ensure that all the scientific requirements are met. The contracting parties for the Bayer laboratory are the Berlin-Brandenburg State Laboratory, the Berlin health authorities and the Brandenburg State Ministry of Health.
In North Rhine-Westphalia, furthermore, Bayer is supplying three certified clinical diagnostic laboratories with company apparatus from the Leverkusen, Monheim, Wuppertal and Cologne sites. The current daily analysis capacity of these three laboratories can potentially be doubled by technically integrating the apparatus and complementing the infrastructure.
Prior to these activities, Bayer had already provided rapid assistance in Germany in the fight against the coronavirus. For example, the company has supplied, or plans to supply in the coming days, the biggest hospital in the state of Brandenburg (1,200 beds) and a hospital in Wuppertal with ventilators for COVID-19 patients. In addition, Bayer has helped to address the sanitizer shortage in cities such as Unna, Dormagen, Wuppertal by producing disinfectants, and donated urgently needed breathing masks to the city of Leverkusen.
Moreover, employees of the Pharmaceuticals Division who have a medical background can volunteer their expertise in the fight against the coronavirus. Bayer will permit them to take a paid leave of absence for up to four weeks, thereby supporting the local health system. In this way, the company is reacting to the urgent need for specialist personnel in view of the fact that numerous physicians and medical technologists work at Bayer.
The company is supporting governments, health authorities and communities around the world with urgently needed medicines, supplies and financial support.
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