3D printers have been pushed into service to make thousands of headbands for face shields since the coronavirus pandemic spread worldwide.
Now they're finding use filling another gap in the medical response: making swabs for COVID tests.
The swabs need to be long and flexible, and production already is moving at full speed at the limited number of companies who had produced them, including Teel Plastics Inc.
Resolution Medical of Fridley, Minn., is using Carbon 3D printers to make nasal swabs and San Francisco-based Origin is working with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to provide swabs using its medical-grade 3D printing system.
"The nation's need for rapid and widespread testing for COVID-19 has been hampered by a widespread shortage of the swabs needed for testing," said Dr. Ramy Arnaout, associate director of BIDMC's clinical Microbiology laboratories. "Innovations in 3D printing hold real promise for our collective efforts to diagnose and treat COVID-19, as well as to flatten the transmission curve."