The CSIR – National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) has developed the prototype of a swab that can be used for sample collection of suspected Covid-19 patients.
The project to develop indigenous nasopharyngeal swab was initiated after the government flagged the need for an increased number of swabs. This prototype was designed using material, including those categorised as medical grade, which are readily available in India. It consists of a cylindrical plastic stick with a brush like tip of synthetic bristles.
Chandrashekhar Rode, Prakash Wadgaonkar and Anuya Nisal, polymer science and chemical engineering scientists, were involved in developing the swab prototype, which was completed in under two months.
“This is an excellent example of optimising the polymer specifications and validating the chemical analysis of an urgently needed medical swab product in a very short time,” said Ashwini Kumar Nangia, director of NCL.
Interestingly, swabs were among the medical equipment that India imported mainly from European countries, pushing their costs up significantly.
“Our prototype will cost 25 per cent lower than the imported ones,” said Rode, who added that his team was exploring using material that could further bring down the cost.
The transfer of technology has been completed and a Mumbai-based company will manufacture the swabs.
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