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Mawi DNA

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Swab with Unique Head Design Enables Accurate, More Reliable COVID-19 Test Results

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 11 May 2022
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Image: NextSWAB enables accurate, more reliable COVID-19 test results (Photo courtesy of Mawi DNA)
Image: NextSWAB enables accurate, more reliable COVID-19 test results (Photo courtesy of Mawi DNA)

Current sample collection methods for COVID-19 testing commonly face problems of low recovery, high bacterial content, low quality DNA, and excessive resampling costs. Now, a newly-launched 100% medical-grade plastic swab is designed for high efficiency collection without the possibility of contamination from glue or fibers used in flock and cotton swabs that may inhibit PCR based assays.

In response to the COVID-19 swab shortage, Mawi DNA Technologies (Hayward, CA, USA) has launched the NextSWAB that is currently optimized for nasal sample collection with validation for other sample types ongoing. The NextSWAB is compatible with many sample transport tubes making it ideal for multiple swab sample pooling in a single tube. However, to achieve optimal results, it is most effective when used in conjunction with Mawi’s iSWAB-Microbiome-EL sample collection technology which allows users to skip the RNA extraction step in COVID-19 molecular tests. A second nasal sample can be added to the same tube creating a more concentrated sample to improve overall reliability of the test. The NextSWAB comes ready for use and does not require any preparation for specimen collection.

“The NextSWAB sterile sampling applicator is six inches in length with a unique head design positioned at the distal end,” said Dr. Bassam El-Fahmawi, CEO of Mawi. “The swab head has two channels separated by a septum that retains the collected nasal material which can then be released into the transport media with a gentle shake. The flexible head fits into crevices with ease and effectiveness. It enables anterior nasal sample collection with minimal user discomfort sufficient for a meaningful result.”

“Our NextSWAB fully releases its contents into the sample transport media removing the need for the swab to be transported with the sample,” added Dr. El-Fahmawi. “A fully concentrated liquid sample can then be quickly processed with robotic liquid handling systems or any laboratory workflow. During initial R&D testing, the unique and patent pending head design has shown higher collection efficiency for nasal (mid-turbinate and anterior nares) samples than flocked swabs.”

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