Swabs – used to collect oral and neck samples from patients – cost one-tenth of the imported cotton swabs currently in use, reducing the cost of Covid-19 testing.
The companies began manufacturing polyester-spun mushrooms after getting a nod earlier this month. At present, imported nylon flock and viscose blankets are part of the viral transport medium (VTM) kits used for Covid-19 testing. The sticks imported from the US and China cost between Rs 20 and Rs 30 apiece. But even their supply began to dry out last week in April. The desi polyester pins cost between Rs 1.4 and Rs 3.5 each.
Rahul Jain, co-owner of Suparshva, Tulips, told TOI, “Until March we were just a personal hygiene company. In the second week of April, we were asked by the government if we could make original water sticks for Covid-19 testing. Within 10 days, we converted a small portion of our 20-million cotton earplugs capacity unit in Ghaziabad to polyester wadding. Since May 5, we have sent 3.6 million cotton swabs to VTM manufacturers. “
This can help VTM manufacturers expand testing and produce cheaper kits. “Local production of fungi can reduce the cost of testing while increasing its spread,” said Vishal G Warke, director, R&D cell culture, HiMedia Viral Transport Media.
Meanwhile, Adi Enterprises, which manufactures earplugs for Johnson and Johnson, also started the production of cotton swabs on May 6. Sandeep Makkar, CEO, Johnson and Johnson Medical India, TOI said that for Made-in-India swabs, Reliance supplied the raw material, and Johnson & Johnson India provided pro-bono scientific expertise and R&D. The preparation of pindestest in a record seven days from conceptualization to production under the Make-In India initiative required ingenuity and prompt action. “