New 3D Printed Nasal Swab Provides Better Accuracy than Current COVID-19 Testing Standard in Initial Study


April 26, 2020


180 Engineering

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Metal and carbon fiber additive manufacturing machinery maker Markforged, has announced that it is partnering with Neurophotometrics, a maker of scientific optical instruments, to produce Fiberflex Rayon, a 3D printed nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs for use in diagnostic testing for COVID-19. According to the companies, the new 3D printed swabs successfully detected the virus in all patients tested, compared to commercial swabs which can report false negatives. The team is currently producing 10,000 swabs per day, with plans to scale to 100,000 per day.

“Identifying COVID-19 infected patients is the best way to slow down the spread of the disease, but we’re seeing a lot of issues with wide-scale testing,” said Greg Mark, CEO and Founder of Markforged. “There are massive shortages of nasal swabs and to make matters worse, hospitals are reporting false negatives with the current swabs on the market.”

In a collaborative effort by the San Diego Covid Research Enterprise Network (SCREEN) Initiative — a group of scientists, students, research institutions, and others in the San Diego area — Neurophotometrics, Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, the Scripps Research Institute, and the University of California San Diego designed and tested the 3D printed swabs with fifty volunteers. Patients that were confirmed to be positive for COVID-19 were retested three to fourteen days later with both the commercial swab and the 3D printed swab. Testing with the commercial swab detected the virus in most, but not all of the patients, while all of the 3D printed swabs came back positive, suggesting the 3D printed swab may be more efficient at collecting viral particles and …continue reading article at