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CSIR-NCL develops swab for Covid tests

The project to develop the indigenous nasopharyngeal swab was initiated after the government flagged the need for increasing number of swabs. CSIR – National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) has developed a prototype of a swab that can be used for sample collection of suspected Covid-19 patients.

The project to develop the indigenous nasopharyngeal swab was initiated after the government flagged the need for increasing number of swabs. It was designed using prototype materials, classified as medical grade, which are readily available in India. It consists of a cylindrical plastic rod with a brush, similar to the tip of synthetic bristles.

Chandrasekhar Road, Prakash Wadgaonkar and Anu Nisal, polymer science and chemical engineering scientists, were involved in developing the swab prototype, which was completed within two months.

NCL director Ashwini Kumar Nangia said, “This is an excellent example of optimizing polymer specifications and validating the chemical analysis of the required medical swab product in a very short period of time.”

Interestingly, swabs were among the medical devices that India imported mainly from European countries, increasing their costs significantly.

“Our prototype will cost 25 percent less than the imported ones,” Rhode said, his team exploring using materials that could bring costs down further.

The transfer of technology has been completed and a Mumbai-based company will build the swab.

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