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Performance of three-dimensional printed nasopharyngeal swabs for COVID-19 testing

Authors
  • Tooker, Angela1
  • Moya, Monica L.1
  • Wang, Daniel N.1
  • Freeman, Dennis1
  • Borucki, Monica1
  • Wheeler, Elizabeth1
  • Larsen, Greg1
  • Shusteff, Maxim1
  • Duoss, Eric B.1
  • Spadaccini, Christopher M.1
  • 1 Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory,
Type
Published Article
Journal
Mrs Bulletin
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Publication Date
Sep 13, 2021
Pages
1–9
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1557/s43577-021-00170-9
PMID: 34539055
PMCID: PMC8437332
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Review Article
License
Unknown

Abstract

Abstract At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the US faced nationwide shortages of nasopharyngeal swabs due to both overwhelmed supply chains and an increase in demand. To address this shortfall, multiple 3D printed swabs were ultimately produced and sold for COVID-19 testing. In this work, we present a framework for mechanical and functional bench-testing of nasopharyngeal swabs using standard and widely available material testing equipment. Using this framework, we offer a comprehensive, quantitative comparison of the 3D printed swabs to benchmark their performance against traditional flocked swabs. The test protocols were designed to emulate the clinical use of the nasopharyngeal swabs and to evaluate potential failure modes. Overall, the 3D printed swabs performed comparably to, or outperformed, the traditional swabs in all mechanical tests. While traditional swabs outperformed some of the new 3D printed swabs in terms of sample uptake and retention, similar amounts of RNA were recovered from both 3D printed and traditional swabs. Graphic abstract

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