French firm turning cotton buds into COVID-19 testing swabs
Aden-Jay Wood

A French cotton bud manufacturer has started to produce thousands of COVID-19 nasal swabs to enable the country to safely begin easing lockdown restrictions on 11 May. France's new plans involve aggressively testing millions for COVID-19 in order to ensure the virus doesn't spread faster when some of the regulations are relaxed.

The question for many, and a worry for the government, is will they have enough nasal swabs in order to reach their target of 700,000 tests per week. Lemoine, a French cotton bud manufacturer has answered the call from the government by switching its production to nasal swabs.

Jeanne Cluzel-Lemoine, General Manager at Lemoine said it was easy to make the deicison because of the obvious similarities between the swabs and a standard cotton bud.

"We managed to organise things in such a way to produce a longer swab with a flatter tip and also keep our wick" said Cluzel-Lemoine. "Okay, it's more complicated than that but the principle is the same. One swab, one cotton tip. 

"We had all the raw materials and the capacity to create all the components that go into a swab”she added.

Lemoine's extensive and fast production line means they are able to produce 400,000 swabs per day. And have the flexibility to work every day, including weekends, if that is what required.

Lemoine are producing 400,000 testing swabs per day. /AFP

Lemoine are producing 400,000 testing swabs per day. /AFP


The manufacturers are concentrating firmly on meeting the French government needs but after they are met, have set their sights on helping others in Europe. 

Cluzel-Lemoine said: "Today's health crisis is European, it's global, so we have to contribute and help wherever we can."

Sébastien Mauny, Projects and Development Manager at Lemoine explains the minor changes made to the production line: "The specifics of this swab, is the length of the stem. It is 150 millimetres long compared to an average of 70 millimetres for a standard cotton bud. 

"The other differences are that we only have one cotton tip instead of two for a standard cotton swab, the tip is slightly smaller - because you have to insert it into the nasal canal -  and we created a small pre-cut on the swab shaft that allows you to easily break the sample when you insert it into the test tube." He added.

France has had over 24,000 COVID-19 fatalities and, while both cases and deaths on the decline, the Prime Minister Edouard Phillipe has told the nation "We need to learn to live with the virus.” 


Check out The Pandemic Playbook, CGTN Europe's major investigation into the lessons learnt from COVID-19 -

Sign up here to get the COVID-19 Europe bulletin sent directly to your inbox - CGTN Europe

Source(s): AFP