The global pandemic of COVID-19 disease has been caused by the coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2.
The recommended diagnostic investigation for acute SARS-CoV-2 infection is a nucleic acid amplification test (NAT) on a combined throat and nasopharyngeal swab.
There has been a global shortage of swabs suitable for the collection of samples to test for SARS-CoV-2.
In the absence of a local producer, Australia has been sourcing all diagnostic swabs from international manufacturers. Australian laboratories have had problems securing swab supplies as other countries struggle with their own COVID-19 crises and the increased demand for swabs.
In an attempt to provide Australian-produced swabs thereby securing this critical supply chain, 3D printed swabs have been investigated by at least two local manufacturers in partnership with Australian laboratories.
SA Pathology partnered with 3D Printing Studios to evaluate the 3D swabs produced by the company.
All swabs are produced on-site, using PA2200 nylon material which is TGA & FDA approved for medical external use, then flocking the swab using Decitex flock.
This evaluation used a variety of investigations to compare swabs produced by 3D Printing Studios with currently-available commercial swabs sourced overseas.
This evaluation agreed with the findings of two recently-published studies comparing 3D printed and standard commercial swabs. All three studies have reported that the 3D printed swabs have performance characteristics similar to standard commercial swabs.
In conclusion, the swabs were macroscopically similar to commercial swabs; demonstrated superior water absorbance, and captured a statistically-similar amount of human DNA material as a commercial swab.
This makes 3D Printing Studios the first Australian company to manufacture medical nasopharyngeal swabs, essential products in the fight against COVID-19.
This will reduce the need to import these vital products while bringing
manufacturing back to Australia.
3D Printed Swabs ready for sale
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