Clinical Lab Manager
A family-owned company in Guilford, ME has ramped up production to fulfill the critical need for COVID-19 testing swabs in the US.
Since the pandemic began, Puritan Medical Products has been cranking out millions of spun polyester swabs, foam swabs, and their patented flock swabs, all of which are in high demand due to their use in specimen collection. “Those machines are now almost running 24 hours, seven days a week to meet the demand that has been thrusted upon us,” says Timothy Templet, the executive vice president of global sales at Puritan.
Having been around for over 100 years, and producing swabs since the 1960s, Templet refers to Puritan as a “grandfather” in the swab manufacturing space. The company has gotten production down to a science and boasts expertise in all of the ins and outs of ensuring sterility and regulatory compliance.
But Puritan is about more than just swabs for specimen collection. Since its early days, the company has expanded, both in terms of its product offerings and the industries it serves.
The swabs that Puritan makes have many applications beyond COVID-19 testing and diagnostics. “Put COVID aside, there’s microbiome work, there’s genetics, one very important area is the food testing world, and we also have a lot of research that uses [these swabs] as well,” says Templet.
Puritan also manufactures single-use products for controlled environments, environmental, forensics, genetics, medical, and microbiology media industries. In addition to swabs, the company produces s a variety of types of media and wood products like tongue depressors, applicator sticks, and scrapers.
There’s always more in the pipeline. “Despite being 100 years old, we’ve always innovating and continuing to look ahead and see what’s on the horizon,” says Virginia Templet, Puritan’s marketing manager. For instance, she says, “we also work with a lot of start-ups and companies that have new and awesome ideas, and sometimes it takes five or six years for those products to come to fruition, but we always have our pulse on things like that.”
For the time being, Puritan is opening a new production facility in Pittsfield, ME, which will help the company continue to meet the current need for swabs during the pandemic, as well as future demand for swabs in other areas. “We feel swabs will always be needed…you never know what the next flu season is going to bring,” says Virginia Templet.