Celebrating Women in Medicine Month: Infectious Disease Specialist Amy Mathers, MD

Early in the pandemic, Amy Mathers, MD, and colleagues knew they were running out of swabs. So they helped design, manufacture and get FDA clearance so swabs could be distributed across the state of Virginia and fulfill the shortage needs.

Read more here: https://news.virginia.edu/content/innovator-year-made-herculean-efforts-throughout-pandemic


AMY MATHERS, MD: I think when I think back on the pandemic, some of the things that impacted me most were some of the early days when we just didn't know what we were up against. It wasn't two weeks after we had tests that we were running out of swabs: we knew we needed them.

I reached out to a colleague in biomedical engineering and we figured, "You know what? We could make these things." Reached out to injection molding and got that up and running, reached out to different flockers, who put the fibers on the end of the swab so they can delicately grab the RNA, and then figured out how to do the sterilization.

We FDA-cleared them so that we could distribute them around the state, so we were responsible for a huge chunk of swabs. And so just through the help of a lot of people getting that done, getting a clinical trial done, is something that's pretty memorable, and I think should make UVA pretty proud for sticking their neck out on that.
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