Singapore develops robot for swab tests

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PTI

Singapore

Singapore has developed a robot that carries out nasal swabbing to diagnose COVID-19, in a bid to reduce healthcare workers’ risk of exposure to the deadly coronavirus.

Clinicians from the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) and Singapore General Hospital (SGH) have partnered with Biobot Surgical, a firm specialising in medical robotics technology, to develop the SwabBot, Channel News Asia reported.

The self-administered robot, that automates the taking of COVID-19 swab tests, will help reduce healthcare workers’ risk of exposure to the coronavirus, it said.

The robot helps address the limitations of manual COVID-19 swab tests by reducing the need for trained manpower, standardising the consistency of the swabs taken and “providing greater throughput” of swab tests as the robot does not suffer from fatigue, the three groups said in a statement.

The SwabBot is a “self-administered” robot, meaning patients can activate and terminate the process at will. When a patient is ready, they can use their chin to activate the robot and start the swabbing process.

The robot then extends the swab through the nose to the back of the nasal cavity, which is typically about 10cm from the nostrils.