John Nims, president & CEO of U.S. Cotton, a subsidiary of Gastonia, N.C.-based yarn spinner Parkdale Mills, speaks during a Coronavirus Task Force briefing on April 27 at The White House.

“Our company is going tor produce the swabs that will be used in these (COVID-19) testing kits,” he said. “We have about 1,200 people in our company and in our Cleveland (Ohio) operation that has pivoted from the Q-tip-style swab to a swab that’s going to have a plastic stick with a polyester tip so that they can be assembled into these kits. Our Cleveland team has done a wonderful job with this and they’re very excited to be able to help in this effort."

Parkdale collaborates with FDA, others to supply swabs for tests
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Posted April 21, 2020


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Parkdale Mills’ subsidiary U.S. Cotton, the nation’s largest manufacturer of cotton swabs, has joined in an effort with the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the Gates Foundation, UnitedHealth Group and Quantigen to ramp up production of spun synthetic swabs to help the country’s frontline healthcare workers administering tests for the COVID-19 disease.


U.S. Cotton has developed a fully synthetic, polyester-based Q-tip-type swab that can be used in coronavirus diagnostic testing. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration just announced that these synthetic swabs – with a design similar to Q-tips – could be used to test patients for the coronavirus.


U.S. Cotton, based in Cleveland, Ohio, plans to leverage its large-scale manufacturing capacity to rapidly increase production of large quantities of the polyester swabs, which are in short supply for testing kits across the country.


The FDA has determined that spun synthetic swabs can be used in COVID-19 testing based on the results from a clinical investigation stemming from its collaboration with UnitedHealth Group, the Gates Foundation and Quantigen. 


“We stand ready to serve in this important fight and want to do all we can to help deploy these testing kit swabs for the American people,” said John Nims, president of U.S. Cotton. “We greatly appreciate the collaborative efforts with the UnitedHealth Group, Quantigen and the Gates Foundation to help support these necessary clinical studies to help advance this critically needed product to market.”


Anderson Warlick, chair & CEO of Parkdale/U.S. Cotton, added: “Many thanks to Dr. Peter Navarro for his incredible leadership and for all his support. We also greatly appreciate our Ohio Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman and Governor Mike DeWine in these efforts.”


This is the second major COVID-19 relief project that Parkdale has helped lead. Earlier Parkdale constructed an entire supply chain that includes Hanes, Fruit of the Loom and many other U.S. companies in the production of PPE masks desperately needed by frontline medical staff treating the virus.


Source: National Council of Textile Organizations

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