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Department of Radiology

3D Printing

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recognized USF Health with a Patents for Humanity award for the invention of nasal swabs used for COVID-19 testing at the height of the pandemic when supplies were hard to find. Summer Decker, PhD, professor and director for 3D Clinical Applications in the Department of Radiology at USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, originated and led the efforts.

3D Printed Nasopharyngeal Swabs for COVID-19 Testing

USF Health, in partnership with Northwell Health (New York, NY) and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (Boston, MA) have developed, bench lab-tested, and clinically tested 3D printable nasopharyngeal swabs that can be used to obtain samples for COVID-19 testing.

The nasopharyngeal swabs were designed using FDA-cleared software and printed on FDA-cleared 3D printers using FDA-cleared surgical grade material that can withstand the high temperature of the sterilization process.

Preliminary results show these swabs are comparable to conventional nasopharyngeal swabs composed of nylon or polyester to obtain enough viral particles to make a reliable diagnosis of COVID-19.The FDA has given clearance for the use of 3D printed swabs that use medical/dental grade materials. Institutions with access to approved printers and material can produce and use these swabs for testing. Only institutions or companies holding a medical device license can legally manufacture and sell 3D printed swabs to others.

USF Health and Northwell Health hold the provisional patent for this technology but will share the print file with institutions around the country who have the FDA-cleared technology and materials to print their own swabs.

Contact Information

If you would like to contact USF Health about the 3D printable nasopharyngeal swabs, please select the most appropriate options: