The United States’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it will be hosting a virtual town hall meeting on May 15, 2020 at 1pm (ET) to discuss the production and use of 3D printed nasal swabs for COVID-19 diagnostics. The virtual meeting will welcome researchers, clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers to join in on the conversation.
Since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, we’ve seen 3D printing employed in extraordinary ways to support healthcare workers. From face shields and masks to 3D printed ventilator components, the technology and the industry behind it have really stepped up. One particularly interesting area has been the production of 3D printed nasal swabs.
From an early stage, it was apparent that one of the most effective ways of mitigating and understanding the spread of the virus was to test, test and test some more. However, many countries faced (and many are still facing) difficulties in ramping up testing rates because of lack of equipment. In this context, a handful of 3D printing companies, including Carbon, EnvisionTEC, Origin and others, have been working with medical professionals to develop 3D printable nasal swabs, which could be produced in the millions.
The upcoming town hall, hosted by the FDA in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affair’s (VA) Innovation Ecosystem and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) 3D Print Exchange, seeks to dive into the state of 3D printed nasal swabs. Specifically, representatives from the three aforementioned agencies will talk about the proposed regulatory science research aims surrounding the design, production and use of 3D printed nasal swabs in this pandemic.
The hosts will present an overview of their collaboration, highlighting best scientific practices and processes for the production and validation of 3D printed swabs, as well as answer technical questions about “proposed scientific research regarding the development and validation of swabs manufactured through unconventional means for use with COVID-19 testing.”