Express Healthcare

TULIPS ramps up COVID-19 swabs production to five million per week by end of May 2020

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The intent is to make the country self-reliant in nasal, throat swabs, critical component in fighting COVID-19 war and rely less on supplies from other countries

Suparshva Swabs (TULIPS) announced that it is currently producing over two million COVID-19 swabs per week, which would increase to over five million per week by the end of May 2020, to accelerate COVID-19 testing.

To meet the national need for COVID-19 tests, the company is ramping up production, by converting its production lines and reconfiguring equipment, of some of its manufacturing capabilities. The company has the largest installed capacity of cotton buds in Asia and possesses capability of taking the COVID-19 swab production to over 30 million swabs per week, if required in due course.

The intent is to make the country self-reliant in nasal and throat swabs, a critical component in fighting COVID-19 war and rely less on supplies from other countries, in these testing times. With rising number of COVID-19 cases, the company shifted focus to affordable swabs, as domestically produced swabs would cost one-tenth the imported throat swabs.

TULIPS novel polyester spun swabs innovation has excellent collection and release properties. Polyester fibre has been tested and validated for use in specimen collection in microbiology, RT-PCR analysis.

TULIPS is the first to develop and receive the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Institute of Virology (NIV) validation for domestically produced ‘polyester’ swabs. This is significant as COVID test swabs were not manufactured in India, and were imported from the US or China. With global demand increasing, it became difficult and expensive to get swabs from other nations.

Today the country needs the swabs in large numbers to fight the COVID-19 war. As per WHO, reconfiguring health systems is vital to tackling COVID-19. This is significant amid calls for more testing for coronavirus and warnings from the medical experts that reopening the nation’s economy without increasing the capacity to test for the virus poses serious risks.

“Today’s health crisis is unprecedented, so we all have to help wherever we can. While we are firm on meeting the national needs, we will also scale up and help others across the world. We are convinced that widespread testing of those currently infected with COVID-19 will bring us out of the current lockdown as we do our bit to help the country return to normalcy. We are working at full speed as time is of the essence, and a lot is at stake. Our dedicated employees are working 24×7, to ensure free availability. We developed polyester swabs for COVID testing by converting the 100 per cent cotton processing lines, to produce polyester swabs, within 10 days flat. What is unique here, is that the entire development was done in-house by our amazing team and the trials were done on main production lines, which enabled us to start producing the same day we received the ICMR approval,” said Rahul Jain, Partner, Suparshava Swabs.

“To fight COVID-19, India will have to increase testing and may need over 7-10 million swabs every week, to enable the nation to safely begin easing lockdown restrictions and open the economy. This is significant as India plans aggressively to test its billion plus population for COVID-19 to ensure the virus doesn’t spread faster when some of the regulations are relaxed,” said Rajiv Nath, Forum Coordinator, Association of Indian Medical Device Industry (AiMeD), New Delhi.

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