RESEARCHERS DEVELOP NANOFIBER SWABS TO REDUCE FALSE NEGATIVE TESTS FOR COVID-19

Highlights – 

  • Researchers develop nanofiber swabs to reduce false-negative tests for COVID-19.
  • In PCR tests if the viral load is low the swab may not pick up enough virus particles.
  • Researchers compared the sensitivity of the nanofiber cylinders with cotton and flocked swabs.
  • The nano-fiber ultra-absorptive swabs have great potential in diagnosing other diseases.

A group of researchers from the University of Nebraska and the National Strategic Research Institute has developed ultra-absorptive nanofiber swabs that could reduce the number of false-negative tests for COVID-19.

The researchers came up with an enhanced nanofiber swab that can absorb and release more viruses and other biological materials to improve the sensitivity of diagnostic tests, unlike the PCR test.

According to reports, the researchers used an electrospinning technique to make 1-centimeter-tall cylinders with nanofiber layers. They also used gelatin to coat the cylinders and bond them to small plastic sticks to make the cylinders look like normal swabs.

The team mentioned that compared the sensitivity of the nanofiber cylinders with cotton and flocked swabs, found that the nanofiber cylinders reduced the rate of false-negative test results. They detected the coronavirus at concentrations 10 times lower than the other swabs.

According to researchers, apart from allowing more accurate and sensitive COVID-19 testing, the ultra-absorptive swabs have great potential in diagnosing other diseases, testing for food poisoning, and helping forensic teams identify crime suspects from the smallest biological specimens.