Innovative robot automates nasal swabbing needed to diagnose COVID-19

The team identified the need to perform nasal swabs for COVID-19 safely, quickly and consistently, in order to reduce swabbers’ risk of exposure and improve patient experience.It also helps to optimise resources as fewer healthcare workers are needed to do the swab collection, and less Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is utilised,” said Dr Rena who is also an alumnus of Duke-NUS.SwabBot™ is a self-administered robot which allows individuals being swabbed to activate and terminate the swabbing process at will. To ensure the safety of the individual, the robot has a built-in feature, which retracts the swab stick if there is resistance when moving deeper into the nasal cavity.To date, 75 SGH and Bright Vision Hospital patients have been recruited for the ongoing clinical trial comparing SwabBot™ to manual swabbing done by humans. Mr Ariata Elizer Ellevera, a 49-year-old migrant worker admitted to Bright Vision Hospital for COVID-19 who was recruited for the clinical trial said, “I’m glad I signed up for the trial. “When we developed the SwabBot, we envisaged a self-swabbing device that could be deployed and used, similar to how self-check out systems are now prevalent in the supermarkets. This should be especially effective for rostered routine testing and reduce manpower involved in swabbing operations.”

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