A new 3D-printed swab which is designed to streamline COVID-19 testing is being produced in Scotland. The new swabs target the back of the nose, collecting sufficient viral material while being less invasive than the swabs traditionally used for COVID-19 testing, which collect samples from the throat.

It is hoped that this less intrusive approach will streamline the testing process, reduce testing time and help ease the anxiety and discomfort that some people may experience while undergoing a COVID-19 test.

The new design is being manufactured by the Medical Device Manufacturing Centre (MDMC) at Heriot-Watt University, and the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service (SMAS), alongside Abergower 3D.

MDMC Managing Director Professor Marc Desmulliez said: “It was important to establish robust manufacturing capabilities here in Scotland for this critical type of swab and the MDMC has worked closely with Abergower to achieve large volume manufacturing of up to 25,000 swabs a day over an accelerated time frame.”

“It’s easy to forget how critical the situation was last year and the challenges the country faced in getting the right type and quantity of medical devices for testing and personal protection equipment (PPE). The MDMC was funded to help companies like Abergower to accelerate medical devices to market.”

Abergower Managing Director Robin Prior added: “The advantages of using 3D printing technology to rapidly design, develop and launch a highly effective product to meet the challenge of the worldwide pandemic has been demonstrated through this collaboration.”

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