One of the most effective ways to cut down on the spread of the virus is by quarantining people who have COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone that has it. Improvements in testing technology have made the tests easier to access and more accurate in their results.
John Berberian says “3D printing is changing the game when it comes to COVID testing. It allowed us to create a new NP swab design, quickly 3D print them, and then immediately tested and approved by Harvard University. 3D printing does have its limitations in production capacity and the costs are higher than the Injection molded swab.
This is why we 3D printed an Injection Mold Cavity which is now used to produce 2 million swabs a month. As the Founder and CEO of HSD Consultants, John Berberian is familiar with physical needs and lab management. He keeps his ear to the ground for important improvements that help support the medical community.
Why is Testing for COVID Important?
As we start to see more people vaccinated and the numbers lower, it’s natural to ask: is testing for COVID still important? The answer is: yes.
The National Institute on Aging (NIA) notes, “A positive test early in the course of the illness enables individuals to isolate themselves – reducing the chances that they will infect others and allowing them to seek treatment earlier, likely reducing disease severity and the risk of long-term disability, or death.”
While the vaccines have been effective at stopping the severity of COVID, they are not 100% and do not stop all mutations. Because of this, people cannot get the vaccine and think no further actions are needed. Rather than lockdown whole segments of the population, quarantines for individuals are much more ideal to prevent the spread of the virus.
One academic review published by The Lancet explains:
“As more countries start to reopen their borders, screening tools and quarantine measures become essential to identify potential cases and prevent further transmission in the community. To ensure that control measures are adequate, it is important for countries to review and optimize these processes regularly.”
John Berberian believes 3D printing solutions are providing better solutions across the board. “This is exciting stuff,” he says. “We are witnessing a complete shift in how we approach complex issues within the medical community. Advancements during the pandemic with 3D printing have made a huge difference for patients and healthcare workers all over the US.”
Improvements to COVID Testing With 3D Printing
There has been a need for more swabs in the medical community, Berberian explains. The pandemic has created a shortage of NP swabs that are used to collect samples from patients to determine infection status. 3D Medical Supply created the NPSFlex™ as a solution to a fast and accurate swab.
The extremely flexible plastic swabs have been approved by Harvard Medical School testing to meet the requirements for collection sufficiency, PCR compatibility, and expert physician standards.
Because of the highly flexible, smooth, and durable design of the NPSFlex swab:
- Clinicians can easily and safely collect a sample from the nose.
- There is no risk of the swab breaking off in the process.
- Patients are provided the most comfort possible during testing.
The NPSFlex has been registered with the FDA and is printed in the USA. Currently, 3D Medical Supply is printing 2 million swabs every month. Each swab is individually packaged and Gamma Radiated for Sterilization.
This has changed the game completely when it comes to medical supply shortages, says Berberian. The agile nature of 3D printing means shortages can be addressed nearly as soon as they are announced.
3D Printing paved the way for faster Injection Molded NP Swabs
John Berberian said: “3D Printing allowed us to create a new NP swab design, quickly print them, and then immediately tested and approved by Harvard University. 3D printing does have its limitations in production capacity and the costs are higher than the Injection molded swab.
This is why we 3D printed an Injection Mold Cavity which is now used to produce 2 million swabs a month here in the USA. Injection Molded NP Swabs are mostly all manufactured in China which is why we had to manufacture our own and be able to control the supply chain right here in the continental US.
When Should You Get Tested for COVID?
When it comes to getting tested, John Berberian says it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you haven’t been exposed to a COVID-positive person and don’t have any symptoms, then you don’t need to be tested. Just keep practicing safe measures for hygiene (washing your hands) and social distancing.
But, for those who have symptoms, the CDC has long recommended getting tested immediately. This can help stop the spread. For those who have been in contact with a COVID-positive person, testing is also a must (even if you are asymptomatic).
The CDC notes, “Due to the significance of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission, this guidance further reinforces the need to test asymptomatic persons, including close contacts of a person with documented SARS-CoV-2 infection.” The CDC also makes an important note that getting the COVID-19 vaccine will not spark a false positive in a SARS-CoV-2 test.
For the most accurate tests, most experts recommend waiting 4-5 days after exposure. Incubation of COVID could take anywhere from 2-14 days. During that time, it’s best to self-quarantine, says Berberian. Getting the test a day or two after exposure is very likely to produce a false negative because the virus hasn’t passed the incubation period.
And, Berberian reminds people that there may be a waiting period to get their results as well. After getting tested, it might take hours to get your results if the test is processed on-site, or days if the test is sent off to a lab.
The good news is: with more swabs available, there are fewer shortages creating wait times to get tested. Now, most places are allowing patients to get tested without a referral or appointment.