The Biden Administration has awarded a $5.6 million contract to U.S. Cotton LLC, considered the largest manufacturer of cotton swabs in the United States, to increase domestic production capability for polyester tipped swabs for home testing kits and mass testing applications to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Department of Defense (DOD), in coordination with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), announced the award Monday as part of the administration’s broader effort to increase domestic production capability for essential medical supplies.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, U.S. Cotton has retooled operations to produce more than 400 million COVID testing kit swabs. U.S. Cotton, based in Cleveland, said the company will increase its production capacity to 371 million polyester swab tips per month from 92 million per month by May to support domestic coronavirus testing. The DOD contract award was funded through the American Rescue Plan Act to support the domestic industry base expansion for critical medical resources.
“We are proud to be involved in a national effort to help deploy these testing kit swabs for the American people,” John Nims, president of U.S. Cotton, said. “These swabs are designed to make it easier for people at home to self-administer coronavirus tests and will also be used for mass testing applications, which is critically important. We greatly appreciate the collaboration with DOD and HHS to ramp up essential capacity of polyester-based synthetic swabs that will help in the fight against the pandemic.
Nims said the company continued to step up to meet the country’s critical need for American-made coronavirus testing kit swabs on a massive scale.
“As the Delta variant surges across the country, this timely investment will help in the fight against COVID by adding this much-needed, long-term surge capacity,” he added.
Kim Glas, president and CEO of the National Council of Textile Organization, said the organization, which represents domestic textile manufacturers, lauded President Biden, DOD and “for leading this critical industrial expansion effort.”
“We appreciate the administration’s commitment to expand the U.S. industrial base for these essential products,” Glas said. “We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to onshore these critical supply chains long-term and we look forward to working with the administration and Congress to advance long-term solutions.”