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Plastic Injection Molded Nasal Swabs: How Many Lives Will They Save?

July 30, 2020

It’s a familiar, if unfortunate, scene that is burned on the retinas of millions around the world:  hazmat-suited medical personnel inserting nasal swabs into the noses of drivers or pedestrians, collecting specimens to be tested for COVID-19. These nasopharyngeal swabs/syringes, which have been used in hospitals for more than 50 years consist of two pieces: an injection-molded plastic handle and a tip made of an absorbent material such as cotton, polyester, or nylon.

Each swab/syringe is manufactured in a multi-step process, then assembled, sterilized, and packaged, all of which requires significant time and expense. While these traditional plastic injection molded medical devices will no doubt play an important on-going role in the fight against COVID-19, another alternative has emerged: a one-piece plastic swab.

Plastic injection molded medical device
One-piece plastic nasal swab

While early prototypes were produced via costly and slower 3D printing, millions are now being churned out through a vastly simplified, vastly faster, and vastly cheaper, one-step plastic injection process. Moreover, while only a relatively few suppliers have 3-D printing expertise, there are thousands of producers around the world who have conventional plastic injection molding capability.

There was only one problem, well, actually several challenges:

  • invent a plastic medical device which has never been seen before
  • design a mold for that device
  • create a viable plastic injection production process, including quality control
  • design sturdy packaging
  • conduct clinical trials
  • obtain approval from governments around the world
  • ship it to testing centers around the world

— and do all of the above in a matter of weeks!

But it happened. And millions of lives, both now and in the future, will be saved through the application of cutting-edge creativity and good old-fashioned plastic injection know-how.

Advantech Plastics is proud to be at the forefront of the crash development of these and other plastic-injection molded medical devices. As a partner with other manufacturers, distributors and, ultimately, healthcare providers, we will continue to play a vital role in the battle against this devastating pandemic.


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