GREENVILLE, S.C.—Hoowaki LLC reported that it has developed an innovative one-piece injection molded design for a COVID-19 swab to help close the gap in U.S. and global COVID-19 testing supplies. The 12-year old micro surface engineering company adapted its proprietary Hoowaki MicroGrip® surface technology to create micro-pillars used in the Hoowaki® NP Collection Swab, which is shown in clinical user testing to meet existing industry-standard products for flexibility and performance, the company said in a release.
The Hoowaki NP Collection Swab also proved, in independent laboratory testing (qPCR Assay), to be equivalent to industry-standard flocked filament swabs in the collection of patient RNA that is critical for COVID-19 testing. Mass-production of the FDA registered, patent pending collection swab will begin this summer and is expected to reach at least several million units per month, the company said.
“The Hoowaki® NP Collection Swab is an important answer to the challenges posed by the global COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ralph Hulseman, president of Hoowaki LLC, in the release. “Our design allows for production to be quickly scaled in communities around the world—rapidly addressing the rising demand for swabs, a critically important element of all COVID-19 testing.”
A recent study by Harvard University cites the need for up to 20 million COVID-19 tests per day by the end of summer.
The proprietary Hoowaki NP Collection Swab is manufactured using advanced injection molding technologies that leverage existing equipment readily available in communities throughout the world. Its scalability is due to the ability of Hoowaki LLC’s formulations and engineering designs to work at existing injection molding facilities, which enables the swab to be produced in quantities that meet local demands anywhere in the world.
Prisma Health, the largest healthcare system in South Carolina, harnessed its Rapid Innovation Task Force to help with the project.
“Prisma Health collaborated with Hoowaki LLC in the testing and development of the innovative new design,” said Jennifer Meredith, Ph.D., clinical microbiology director at Prisma Health-Upstate. “The soft feel and ease of use of the Hoowaki® NP Collection Swab tip impressed my team.
“Prisma Health is excited to see a locally produced solution that could help ease the shortage of swabs for COVID-19 sample collection,” Meredith continued. “Hoowaki LLC’s product has the potential to help us meet our commitment to our patients in the fight against COVID-19.”
Hulseman credited several public-private partnerships that have helped to provide start-up funding for the swab’s development.
“As is the case for many businesses in today’s environment, Hoowaki LLC adapted quickly to meet new challenges where demand is outpacing supply so we could remain not only viable as a company, but also pursue this pioneering technology,” he said. “We’re grateful for the backing of the Greenville Local Development Corporation (GLDC) and SC Launch, Inc., an investment affiliate of the South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA), who have been instrumental in helping us develop the Hoowaki® NP Collection Swab.”
“Hoowaki LLC is a great example of a small business that has proven to be a powerhouse of innovation during a time of incredible challenge,” said David Barnett, chairman of the Greenville Local Development Corporation. “We are proud of our continued support for Hoowaki LLC in the development of the NP Collection Swab.”
To learn more about the Hoowaki® NP Collection Swab, visit www.hoowaki.com/covid19-swabs or call Hoowaki LLC at (864) 238-5631. Product inquiries may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hoowaki, LLC is a micro surface engineering services and problem-solving company that has developed unique micro surface pattern designs, engineering algorithms, software, and manufacturing know-how to address major markets. The company’s micro surface technology provides grip or slip functionality in the form of films for medical devices, packaging, and other industrial and consumer products. Hoowaki’s team includes experienced micro surface engineers, physicists, friction experts, medical device experts, entrepreneurs, inventors, and developers. The company has market deployment partnerships with Havi (packaging) and BvW Holding AG (implanted medical devices), and a broad patent coverage of micro surface technology.