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3D printing could potentially combat medical supply shortages

Grafner/iStock(NEW YORK) — Some good news, despite rising concerns of medical supply shortages, such as masks and gloves, 3D printing might assist in some areas.

3D printers at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park, New York are already producing nasal swabs to increase the amount of test kits used to diagnose COVID-19.

Dr. Todd Goldstein, director of 3D Design and Innovation at Northwell Health, called 3D-printed nasal swabs “our best weapon” because “This swab is the first line of defense, so to speak, against the coronavirus, because we need to test people and know if they’re positive or not. And in order to do that, we have to collect samples.”

Currently, Northwell Health is producing between 2,000 to 3,000 swabs a day.  They also released their design to the public and is already teaming up with the University of South Florida in Tampa and Formlabs in Somerville, Massachusetts.

Goldstein hopes more help produce the swabs as it could reduce the pressure on already strained manufacturers: “Anyone who has these printers and materials — we’re talking dental labs, university hospitals, high schools, middle schools, universities, engineering schools, even companies that use these printers for prototyping … if they get the correct resin, they can also make these swabs and help with the shortages.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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