- National Chemical Laboratory has developed indigenous nasopharyngeal swabs
- Nasopharyngeal swab is a medical device used for swab collection
- Swabs are for collecting samples from throat cavity of COVID-19 patients
New Delhi: The National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), a lab under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on Saturday (June 6) said that it has developed an indigenous nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs for collecting samples from the throat cavity of COVID-19 patients. In an official release, the Ministry of Science and Technology said that the need for making available domestic technology for NP swabs was flagged by CSIR to NCL in mid-April.
Nasopharyngeal swab is a medical device with stringent specifications of quality, polymer grade, dimensions and sterilization. An NP swab consists of a cylindrical plastic stick with a brush-like tip of synthetic bristles/flocks. The flocking process helps align the fine bristles in a parallel orientation on the stick head, much like a tooth brush, except that this has round uniform geometry and the NP swab bristles are of micron diameter.
According to the release, the NCL team of polymer science and chemical engineering scientists – which included Dr. Chandrashekhar V. Rode, Dr. Prakash P. Wadgaonkar, and Dr. Anuya A. Nisal – successfully worked out the detailed specifications of NP swab polymers and adhesives.
The specifications of NP swabs included medical-grade materials that must be used for manufacture, the swab design and the packaging and sterilization protocols, reads the release.
Dr. Ashwini Kumar Nangia, Director, NCL, said,
This is an excellent example of optimizing the polymer specifications and validating the chemical analysis of an urgently needed medical swab product in a very short time.
The NCL has transferred the process knowhow of indigenous NP swabs for sample collection to a Mumbai-based chemical company under the COVID-19 technology transfer guidelines of CSIR.
After confirming the correct chemical and polymer composition of NP swabs, their diameter, alignment of bristles, and sterilization method, NCL has suggested the next regulatory pathway for approval of medical devices to the company. They will be able to produce 1 lakh NP swabs per day.