At the end of last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared monkeypox a “public health emergency of international concern,” according to a statement from WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus released July 23. As it did with COVID-19, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is spearheading the effort to quickly increase monkeypox testing capacity across the country.
The agency has developed and is currently distributing a molecular RT-PCR test for free to labs across the country via its Laboratory Response Network (LRN). On June 22, the CDC began shipping the orthopoxvirus test to the nation’s largest reference labs, including Aegis Sciences, Labcorp, Mayo Clinic Laboratories, Quest Diagnostics, and Sonic Healthcare. On July 6, Labcorp became the first LRN lab to offer the CDC test. Five days later, Mayo Clinic Laboratories became the second, with Aegis Sciences and Sonic Healthcare becoming the third and fourth commercial labs to offer the CDC test on July 14 and July 18, respectively.
Quest started offering testing via its own test on July 13 and plans to offer the CDC test in the first half of August, according to the CDC.
Meanwhile, labs have responded to the outbreak by rapidly creating their own PCR laboratory developed tests (LDTs) for monkeypox, much the way they did with COVID-19. Roche was among the first to launch new monkeypox LDTs. Others include Quest, which is also an LRN lab, Co-Diagnostics, Bioperfectus, and Novacyt.
Get a more in-depth report on the monkeypox response effort in our upcoming August 2022 issue of Diagnostic Testing and Emerging Technologies in advance of its official publish date.