Research Article: A 3D-printed nasopharyngeal swab for COVID-19 diagnostic testing

Date Published: August 15, 2020

Publisher: Springer International Publishing

Author(s): Jonathan Ford, Todd Goldstein, Sean Trahan, Allison Neuwirth, Kyle Tatoris, Summer Decker.


The nasopharyngeal swab is a critical component of the COVID-19 testing kit. Supply chain remains greatly impacted by the pandemic. Teams from USF Health Radiology and Northwell Health System developed a 3D-printed stopgap alternative. This descriptive study details the workflow and provides guidance for hospital-based 3D printing labs to leverage the design to make a positive impact on the pandemic. Swab use is also outlined, and the early information regarding clinical use is described, including an ongoing multicenter trial methodology.

Partial Text

The World Health Organization designated COVID-19 a global pandemic on March 11, 2020. In addition to the physical mortality and morbidity on patients, the disruption due to this widespread disease has also effected global supply chain of critically needed medical supplies. Medical supply shortages included ventilators, respirators, masks, face-shields, and various other PPE [1]. 3D printing is an effective stopgap technology for medical devices and additional supplies [2]. There is an international shortage of the synthetic flocked nasopharyngeal (NP) swab which combined with virial transport media in a test tube completes the COVID-19 testing kit [3]. This shortage contributed to deficiencies in testing in the United States.

3D printed nasopharyngeal swabs provide a cost-efficient and fast alternative to the standard NP swabs used for COVID-19 testing kits. As members of the Radiological Society of North America’s 3D Printing Special Interest group [7], this project was initiated and developed through collaborations established in the 3D SIG.




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