Major organizations collaborate to develop and distribute synthetic cotton swabs for COVID-19 testing

April 17, 2020

Mass production of cotton swabs is underway thanks to FDA collaboration with private sector.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced yesterday in a press release that synthetic cotton swabs will be used to test for COVID-19. The swabs, which are similar to Q-tips, are manufactured by U.S. Cotton, the largest producer of cotton swabs in the country.                                                                        

This decision comes after the review of clinical studies funded by UnitedHealth Group, Quantigen, and the Gates Foundation.

“This action today demonstrates the ingenuity that results from the FDA working in partnership with the private sector,” FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D. said in the press release. “All of these actions by these American organizations will help continue to expand our testing capability.”

Large scale production and distribution of these new swabs mean that self-testing is now an option. In turn, this eliminates contact with the coronavirus and will cut down on transmission.

“We appreciate the work of these collaborators to consider how these test supplies could be broadly distributed to meet not only the testing needs of the United States but also global needs around the pandemic,” Hahn said.