FATHOM & Abiogenix Supply 3D Printed NP Swabs to Address Shortage

The Abiogenix spiral design, made by FATHOM, was selected as the preferred 3D printed swab by clinicians and patients alike. 

The Abiogenix spiral design, made by FATHOM, was selected as the preferred 3D printed swab by clinicians and patients alike. 

Image courtesy of FATHOM.


Abiogenix and FATHOM have partnered to bridge the spiral nasopharyngeal (NP) swab test kit shortage. Over 150 NP swab designs were evaluated in a clinical trial by Harvard's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC). The Abiogenix spiral design, made by FATHOM, using Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing technology, was selected as the preferred 3D printed swab by clinicians and patients. 

Abiogenix's FAST Spiral NP Swab passed tensile and torsion tests performed at Lawrence Livermore National Labs. Made of biocompatible flexible plastic and 3D printed using HP Multi Jet Fusion Technology.

Optimized spiral tip for sample collection. Swabs were engineered for breakpoint for bend-and-twist sterile separation and have been clinically and mechanically evaluated by Harvard-BIDMC.

The swabs are now readily available to the medical industry and testing centers around the country. FATHOM will have the ability to scale production of testing swabs from 100,000 to millions.

“When Dr. Ramy Arnaout [MD, Associate Director of the Clinical Microbiology Laboratories at Harvard-BIDMC] initiated the call to medical device manufacturers to play an important part in the COVID-19 test kit swab shortage, we activated our network of medical professionals, engineers, and 3D manufacturers immediately,” says Goutam Reddy, CEO of Abiogenix. “We have collaborated swiftly and arduously to heed the call. In only 35 days, our design is now fit for mass production,” concludes Reddy. Forecast 3D is supporting the high-volume demand by ramping up support up to 1MM+ per week.  

To achieve a swab design, the swabs were optimized against several criteria:

  • Patient Sensitivity: The materials had to be flexible, yet sturdy enough to be safely inserted into the nasal cavity. 
  • Collection Sufficiency: The spiral swab was designed to maximize adsorption of viral fluid. The material was also tested to ensure it was compliant with the polymerase chain reaction process.
  • Tip Comfort: 3D printed prototypes allowed for geometry freedom enabling rapid iterations to ensure that tips were optimized for patient comfort. 
  • Breakpoint Reliability: A new innovative design features single-handed, bend-and-twist functionality for swab separation post-collection. 

“This entire process is a prime example of how additive manufacturing and the right team can facilitate a condensed development life cycle through a very collaborative and iterative process. Coupled with the extreme motivation to combat a global pandemic, we looked to leverage FATHOM's unique expertise and capabilities to assist in solving this problem,” says Rich Stump, COO at FATHOM. 

FATHOM and Abiogenix are actively receiving orders across North America. To place an order, click here.  

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

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