Sydney’s 3D Printing Studios has become the first Australian company to locally manufacture the nasal and throat swabs that are used in COVID-19 testing kits, bringing Australia’s heavy reliance on overseas supply chains one step closer to an end.
The 3D printed swabs were recently given the green light by South Australian Pathology and the company has now received an order for 10,000 swabs from the Northern Territory government.
The company is also in discussions with the Victorian and South Australian state governments which could lead to orders of up to a million swabs.
3D Printing Studios co-founder Howard Wood says it took several weeks to develop the swab, which not only collects mucus but allows it to be transferred for testing, after coming across the designs from the Harvard Medical School.
Wood said 3D Printing Studios is the only local supplier of these essential products which are in high demand due to the coronavirus.
He said as the coronavirus pandemic proliferated, he saw a gap in the market for essential medical supplies especially personal protective equipment.
Wood, together with the company’s other co-founder Stuart Grover started by manufacturing face shields, but saw more success producing medical nasal and throat swabs.
“We tried several different 3D printed designs obtained from Harvard Medical School and finally came up with a simple design that is flocked with a safe nylon material,” Wood said.
“The design, coupled with the EOS P396 machinery, will allow us to produce thousands of these medical swabs per day.”
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