(Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday spun synthetic swabs could be used for coronavirus testing by collecting a sample from the front of the nose.

This type of testing would allow self-collection by patients, thereby limiting exposure of healthcare providers, FDA said.

The United States has recorded more fatalities from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus, than any other country, with 30,961 deaths and 636,937 confirmed cases.

U.S. Cotton, the largest manufacturer of cotton swabs in the country, developed a polyester-based Q-tip-type swab that is fully compatibility with COVID-19 testing, FDA said https://bit.ly/3cnfEz4.

“U.S. Cotton plans to produce these new polyester swabs in large quantities to help meet the needs for coronavirus diagnostic testing,” the regulator said in a statement.

The finding that spun synthetic swabs could be used for testing is based on results from a clinical investigation by the FDA, UnitedHealth Group, the Gates Foundation, and Quantigen.

(Reporting by Ayanti Bera in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)