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NP Swabs Created in Dr. Faisal's 4M Lab

There is a nationwide shortage of the nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs needed to collect samples for COVID-19 testing. The current and impending supply chain shortages are serious enough that clinicians are designing and testing their own swabs as quickly and safely as possible. NP swabs are flexible sticks with a bristled end that are inserted into the nose to the back of the nasal cavity and swept around to collect material that sticks to or wicks up the bristles. In support of the COVID-19 public health emergency and to meet the demand of local hospital and health workers collecting samples to test COVID-19, Dr. Tanvir Faisal, an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering is leading the project to fabricate NP swabs using Form-2 SLA printer.  “There are several designs available for NP swabs, but we primarily choose the design developed by USF Health faculty researchers in the Departments of Radiology and Infectious Diseases in collaboration with Northwell Health, because we have the same 3D printing facility. Our primary goal was to meet the emergency need to increase testing”, said Dr. Faisal. Additionally, the swabs underwent rapid clinical testing at Northwell Health and Tampa General Hospital and all testing showed that the 3D printed nasal swabs perform as good as or better than traditional swabs used for nasopharyngeal specimen collection. The 3D printed swabs are made of biocompatible Surgical Guide Resin, which is non-cytotoxic, not a sensitizer, non-irritating, and complies with ISO 109933-1:2018. The swabs are printed in the 4M Lab, where Souvik Chakraborty, a graduate student is also working with the principal investigator. The lab can manufacture 150 swabs per day. This project shows not only our ability to manufacture NP swabs but the long tradition of UL Lafayette to serve the society and state when necessary. Dr. Faisal also acknowledges the support and contributions of his colleagues Yasmeen Qudsi, Dr. Jonathan Raush, Dr. Alan Barhorst (Dept. Head) of MCHE department, Dr. Kumer Das, Assistant Vice President for Research, Innovation and Economic Development of UL Lafayette, and Dr. Steven Alexander of LSU Health, Shreveport.