Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have developed three new nasopharyngeal swabs for Covid-19 test kits.

One NUS team 3D-printed a swab, called the Python, using a double helix structure for the swab tip as it has excellent fluid adsorption and causes minimal discomfort to patients. Another team at the university then developed an injection-moulded swab called IM2, a process that can be faster than 3D printing as multiple units can be produced in a given manufacturing cycle. They also redesigned the Python swab to allow it to be injection-moulded rather than 3D-printed, calling it the IM3.

The designs have proven comparable to current commercially used swabs in initial trials.

Since the outbreak of the disease there has been a global surge in demand for swabs, which are often out of stock due to supply chain disruptions.