On Tuesday, the AKU (Agha Khan University) announced that it has developed a low-cost nasal swab in Pakistan for COVID-19 testing.
AKU further said that Pakistan can now produce nasal swabs locally. Moreover, the country is also able to produce the essential tools required to collect samples for coronavirus tests.
As per the reports, the pandemic has increased worldwide which now also increases the demand for diagnostic test kits and components as well as nasal swabs shaped like cotton buds. Earlier, Pakistan had to import all nasal swabs up till now.
According to a statement, the supply constraints in April and May led AKU’s lab to search for a solution and design local alternatives.
Therefore, a researchers’ team, biomedical engineers, and clinical laboratory utilized a specialized 3D printer in order to develop a sample. As per the varsity, clinical trials on the sample found out that the nasal swab is safe to be used, effective, and user-friendly just like the ones which are imported.
Saleem Sayani director of AKU’s Technology Innovation Support Center and Digital Health Resource Center said that the printer can develop 1000 swabs each day at a lower cost than those which are imported.
According to Dr. Adil Haider AKU Medical College Dean, the development of local swabs shows how local innovation can solve problems in the middle of a pandemic.
Professor Zahra Hasan from AKU’s department of pathology and laboratory medicine and the co-principal investigator on the project added that these nasal swabs will reduce our need to import swabs to carry out tests.
Moreover, she said that it will help in increasing the diagnostic capacity of COVID-19 in Pakistan.