Clinical Evaluation of Locally Made Flocked Swabs in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic in a Developing Country

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has caused an international shortage of nasopharyngeal flocked swabs, which are one of the main supplies for diagnostic testing. In response to this issue, our institution developed locally made nasopharyngeal swabs. This report aims to provide a clinical evaluation by conducting a sterility test, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) compatibility test, and a user-based survey test of two batches of locally made flocked swabs. Sterility and compatibility tests were conducted at our microbiology laboratory. Participants with clinical suspicion of COVID-19 were scheduled for swab tests using Flocked Swab HS-19 and samples obtained were tested using the RT-PCR method. The cycle threshold (Ct) value of the samples was recorded. A user-based survey was conducted to evaluate the swab stick and flocked-fiber tip performance. The sterility test showed no evidence of bacterial growth on both blood agar and thioglycolate medium. RT-PCR compatibility test from Ct value of 33 samples of the first batch and 30 samples of the second batch was recorded with a mean Ct of 27.17±2.96 and 23.99±2.18, respectively. Six parameters of the swab stick (comfortability, smoothness, flexibility, durability, applicability, and breakpoint performance) showed satisfactory scores with an average of 4.14 out of 5.0 for the first batch and 4.16 for the second batch, while 4 parameters of the flocked-fiber tip (fiber adherence, thickness, symmetricity, and sample collection sufficiency) revealed acceptable scores with an average of 3.6 out of 5.0 for the first batch and 3.75 for the second batch. This study indicates that locally made flocked swabs are satisfactory and clinically applicable for testing and diagnosing COVID-19. Furthermore, mass production and distribution across the country are expected. The development of these swabs, which involved multidisciplinary teamwork and various industrial partners, portrayed a valuable lesson on how to cope with the pandemic through innovation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)878-887
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Technology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2020


  • COVID-19
  • RNA extraction
  • Specimen collection
  • Swab


Dive into the research topics of 'Clinical Evaluation of Locally Made Flocked Swabs in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic in a Developing Country'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this