Optimal design for 3D printed nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs for COVID‑19 detection.
This research project seeks funds for developing optimal designs for 3D printed nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs for COVID‑19 detection. 3D printed NP swabs have been identified as a viable methodology to manufacture NP swabs in large quantities considering the need highlighted by the recent COVID‑19 pandemic. However, to be brought to the market and used clinically, NP swabs still suffers various limitations in quality and quantity of sample collected, patient discomfort and limited mechanical stability. Here we propose to develop numerical simulations to improve the current NP swab design features to optimize sample collections. This optimization will take into account the mucus rheological properties and the local stresses on the mucosa generated during the NP swab motion for sample collection. Simulations rather then experiments are ideal to perform this optimization because the large variability in mucus rheology and physiognomy of the population. This large variability makes an experimental approach time consuming and highly demanding. This optimized design will benefit the management of COVID‑19 in Canada by reducing a) the number of false negatives, b) the risks for qualified personnel and c) the associated use of personal protective equipment.