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AU Health partners with state health officials to test 3D printed swabs



AUGUSTA, Ga.  — As coronavirus cases continue to rise and testing supplies dwindle, Augusta University Health is partnering with state health officials to test a 3D printed nasal swab.

According to the release, AU Health has partnered with the Georgia National Guard to test the new design at Windermere Health and Rehabilitation Center and, if proven effective, it can be used by Georgia health officials as testing ramps up statewide.

“Windermere Health and Rehabilitation Center has really tried to do the right thing, securing testing for their own patients and providing a way for other facilities to do the same,”Katrina Keefer, AU Health CEO said, in the release. “This could provide a scalable way to test a lot more people, a lot faster.”

As states like Georgia look to expand testing, one of the major concerns is a shortage of nasopharyngeal swabs as two of the top makers of the product strain to keep up with demand, according to the release.

“These swabs are critically short in the supply chain and thanks to the innovative efforts of Augusta University, we should be able to expand testing efforts statewide. This would not be possible without other partners like Windermere Nursing Home’s support to testing with these new instruments to keep their residents and staff safe,” Brig. Gen. Randall V. Simmons Jr. said, in the release.

The AU Health prototype, which has been engineered by faculty at Augusta University, includes a flexible stick with a bristled end.

Windermere Health and Rehabilitation Center has partnered with AU Health to provide screening, testing and telehealth services to the facility’s residents, according to the release.

The health system received accolades from Gov. Brian Kemp this week when he recognized the organization for its COVID screening app and announced its expansion statewide.