Suparshva Swabs (India), which manufactures and markets cotton buds under the brand name Tulips, has forayed into manufacture and supplies of polyester based swabs that are used for COVID-19 tests.
The company has announced that it is currently producing over 2 million COVID-19 swabs per week, which would increase to over 5 million per week by the end of May 2020.
To meet the urgent need for swabs the company is ramping up production, by converting its cotton buds production lines and reconfiguring equipment at its manufacturing facility.
The company has the largest installed capacity of cotton buds in Asia & possesses capability of taking the COVID-19 swab production to over 30 million swabs per week, a top company executive said.
“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,” said Rahul Jain, Partner, Suparshava Swabs India.
“With rising number of COVID-19 cases, we shifted our focus to affordable swabs, as domestically produced swabs would cost one-tenth the imported throat swabs,” he added.
The swabs produced by the company are 100% polyester based on a thinner polypropylene shaft.
Polyester fiber has been tested and validated for use in specimen collection in microbiology, RT-PCR analysis, the company said.
He said the company is the first to develop and receive the ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) and NIV (National Institute of Virology) 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,” Mr Jain said.
“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,” he said.
“We are convinced that widespread testing of those currently infected with COVID-19 will bring us out of the current lockdown. We developed polyester swabs for COVID testing by converting the 100% cotton processing lines, to produce Polyester swabs, within 10 days flat,” he added.
To fight COVID-19, India may need over 7-10 million swabs every week for testing.