K-State helps fills supply chain gap for COVID-19 testing resources

Nasopharyngeal swabs for COVID-19 are being 3D-printed at Kansas State University for testing...
Nasopharyngeal swabs for COVID-19 are being 3D-printed at Kansas State University for testing in the region.(Tommy Theis | K-State)
Published: Aug. 7, 2020 at 8:24 AM CDT
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MANHATTAN, Kan. (KWCH) - Kansas State University received commendation from the state for helping ease shortage issues with COVID-19 testing resources last week.

The university worked with Community HealthCare System and the Northeast Kansas Healthcare Coalition to help fill the supply chain gap of nasopharyngeal swabs for COVID-19 testing.

"It really is very illustrative that something kind of minor can really stop the presses. The Northeast Kansas Healthcare Coalition, Community Healthcare System and K-State met this need in a very creative way, which provided these much-needed swabs — not just to KDHE, but to hospitals, clinics, etc.," Kansas Health Secretary Lee Norman said.

The university said the process began when Todd Willert, chief executive officer of Community HealthCare System, heard that dental offices could use their 3D printers to make testing swabs. Willert then knew that the university had those resources and worked with the university to begin the process of printing the swabs.

"There were a lot of days when we weren't sure if we were going to be able to perform tests because we were missing that simple little swab — and that's very frustrating as a health care organization," Willert said.

So far, the university has printed and donated almost 2,500 swabs – and the university said another 2,500 were on the way.

The swabs benefit smaller community hospitals in the area, as well as nursing homes, which continually struggle with the virus.

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