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Sparrow 3D prints nasal swabs for COVID-19 testing

Published: Sep. 29, 2020 at 4:32 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - After a shortage of COVID-19 tests at the beginning of the pandemic, Sparrow Health System decided to take matters into their own hands by 3D printing nasal swabs.

A liquid is poured into the 3D printer, and four hours later, it makes 410 swabs. The swabs are cleaned in alcohol and then sanitized again before they can be used.

Sparrow says this new process will help them increase testing capacity by 4%.

While Sparrow does not currently have a shortage of swabs, they are preparing in case there’s another shortage in the future.

“The purpose of the process is really a matter of using technology to help us have supplies in the event that our supply line dries up for one reason or another. We’ve definitely seen that happen in the past nine months,” said James Richard, D.O., Medical Director of Sparrow Laboratories.

Right now, Sparrow tests 1,500 to 1,800 people a day. Since the beginning of the pandemic, they’ve tested more than 170,000 people.

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