Preclinical Validation of a Novel Injection-Molded Swab for the Molecular Assay Detection of SARS-CoV-2

Chiara E. Ghezzi, Devon R. Hartigan, Justin P. Hardick, Rebecca Gore, Miryam Adelfio, Anyelo R. Diaz, Pamela D. McGuinness, Matthew L. Robinson, Bryan O. Buchholz, Yukari C. Manabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During the COVID-19 public health emergency, many actions have been undertaken to help ensure that patients and health care providers have timely and continued access to high-quality medical devices to respond effectively. The development and validation of new testing supplies and equipment, including collection swabs, has helped to expand the availability and capability for various diagnostic, therapeutic, and protective medical devices in high demand during the COVID-19 emergency. Here, we report the initial validation of a new injection-molded anterior nasal swab, ClearTip™, that was experimentally validated in a laboratory setting as well as in independent clinical studies in comparison to gold standard flocked swabs. We have also developed an in vitro anterior nasal tissue model which offers a novel, efficient, and clinically relevant validation tool to replicate the clinical swabbing workflow with high fidelity, while being accessible, safe, reproducible, and time-and cost-effective. ClearTip™ displayed greater inactivated virus release in the benchtop model, confirmed by its greater ability to report positive samples in a small clinical study in comparison to flocked swabs. We also quantified the detection of biological materials, as a proxy for viral material, in multi-center pre-clinical and clinical studies which showed a statistically significant difference in one study and a reduction in performance in comparison to flocked swabs. Taken together, these results emphasize the compelling benefits of non-absorbent injection-molded anterior nasal swabs for COVID-19 detection, comparable to standard flocked swabs. Injection-molded swabs, as ClearTip™, could have the potential to support future swab shortages, due to its manufacturing advantages, while offering benefits in comparison to highly absorbent swabs in terms of comfort, limited volume collection, and potential multiple usage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number206
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • COVID-19
  • Diagnostic testing
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Swab
  • Tissue model
  • Virological testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry


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