#D printing covid test swabs (Jim Cleveland, Navy)

Navy 3D printing COVID-19 test swabs

An Army-Navy partnership will produce and deliver 3D-printed nasal test swabs for COVID-19 testing.

The collaboration between the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, and the Army Medical Materiel Development Activity at Fort Detrick, Md., will enable 3D printing of the swabs, which are about the size of a coffee stirrer, out of surgical grade resin. The shipyard, which had been 3D printing face shields, has the infrastructure to produce up to 10,000 swabs per day.

The goal is that the swabs, once sterilized, can be used by the Defense Department in conjunction with COVID-19 testing kits that have received emergency use authorization.

For the COVID-19 response, Army Medical Research and Development Command stood up an Additive Manufacturing Working Group to assist companies interested in producing medical devices that meet the Food and Drug Administration’s production and distribution requirements with regulatory, legal, programmatic and clinical expertise.

Swabs are the tip of the iceberg, officials said.

"In addition to supporting the response effort to COVID-19, the accelerated learning on this particular type of 3D printing can only come from the pressure of a crisis of this magnitude," said Navy Capt. Daniel Ettlich, the commander of Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. "This experience will benefit Portsmouth Naval Shipyard for many years to come as we move forward in developing 3D-printed submarine parts."

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