Abstract: A Novel 3D-Printed Swab for Detecting COVID-19 Virus

Image by fernando zhiminaicela from Pixabay
  • The objective is to design and evaluate 3D-printed nasal swabs for COVID-19 testing.
  • A repetitive design process was used.
  • The experiment used in vitro assessment of mock nasopharyngeal samples spiked with concentrations of gamma-irradiated COVID-19 virus.
  • A prospective clinical study compared COVID-19 virus and human cellular material recovery by 3D-printed swabs and standard nasopharyngeal swabs.
  • The experiment took place at the Royal Melbourne Hospital on May 2020.
  • Participants include 50 hospital staff members attending a COVID-19 screening clinic and two laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patients.
  • A flocked nasopharyngeal swab sample was collected with the Copan ESwab.
  • A mid-nasal sample from the other nostril was collected with the 3D-printed swab.
  • Qualitative agreement with regard to COVID-19 virus detection in mock samples collected with 3D-printed swabs and two standard swabs was complete.
  • Qualitative agreement with regard to RNase P detection (a surrogate measure of adequate collection of human cellular material) in samples collected from 50 hospital staff members with standard and 3D-printed swabs was complete.
  • Qualitative agreement with regard to COVID-19 virus detection in three pairs of 3D-printed mid-nasal and standard swab samples from two inpatients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 virus was also complete.
  • The experiment concluded that using 3D-printed swabs to collect nasal samples for COVID-19 virus testing is feasible, acceptable to patients and health carers, and convenient.

Keywords: 3-D printing, swab testing, 3D swab printing, COVID testing, COVID test, swab test


Williams E, Bond K, Isles N, et al. Pandemic printing: a novel 3D-printed swab for detecting SARS-CoV-2 [published online ahead of print, 2020 Aug 9]. Med J Aust. 2020;10.5694/mja2.50726. doi:10.5694/mja2.50726


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