Given the current global circumstances, supply chains of the swabs required for COVID-19 testing are subject to frequent, unexpected challenges.
Nationally, therefore, we require multiple options for swab manufacturers in the event that one supply chain is temporarily or permanently broken. It is desirable that alternate manufacturers are in different countries in order to mitigate risks that may pertain to a single country. Therefore the NZ Ministry of Health, in conjunction with NZ HealthPartnerships, has secured a supply of Noble Bio swabs, manufactured in the Republic of Korea, in addition to the current supply of Chemdex nasopharyngeal swabs ex China which come as a single swab, packaged with Fort Richard UTM.
The swab pack comprises:
3ml UTM (ISO certified 13485, GMP certified)
Nasopharyngeal swab (CE marked)
Oropharyngeal swab (CE marked)
Evaluation (see separate report)
The Noble Bio UTM and nasopharyngeal swab performance was equivalent to the current swab and UTM in use in NZ. A delta Ct of <1 cycle was achieved for all replicates and comparisons.
The oropharyngeal swab was not specifically evaluated, though this carries the same certification as the nasopharyngeal swab and would be used in conjunction with this.
The Nobel Bio product is appropriate for use in the NZ setting and is equivalent to the current standard swab kit.
Please consult with your laboratory provider and provide advice to swabbers around use of this product.
Some regions may prefer to use both swabs in the Nobel Bio kit; others may have preference, for technical reasons, for use of the nasopharyngeal swab only.
Please note that there may be two types of swab kits (Chemdex and Nobel Bio) in circulation at any one time.
Click here for Nobel bio Evaluation
Response and Coordination
COVID-19 Health System Response
Ministry of Health