Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche announced on Wednesday that it has developed PCR tests to detect the monkeypox virus after several cases were identified in parts of the world where the disease is not prevalent.
The tests were developed by Roche and its subsidiary TIB Molbiol “in response to cases of monkeypox virus infection that have recently raised concerns,” he said in a press release.
“Roche has very quickly developed a new series of tests to detect monkeypox virus and monitor its spread,” said Roche’s director of diagnostics, quoted in a press release.
The recent outbreaks, with more than 250 cases in 16 countries as of May 22, according to the World Health Organization, are atypical because they occur in countries where monkeypox, a disease characterized by skin lesions, is not endemic.
The tests developed by Roche are not intended for the general public, but are available for research purposes in most parts of the world.
The first kit detects orthopoxviruses, including monkeypox viruses, the second kit specifically detects monkeypox viruses, and the third kit detects orthopoxviruses by determining whether monkeypox virus is present or not.
According to the WHO, the disease should be detected using a PCR test because antigen tests cannot determine whether it is monkeypox or other related viruses. The best specimens for diagnosis are taken from lesions, swabs of exudate (fluid released from a wound), or crusts from lesions.
Monkeypox or monkeypox is, according to the WHO, a rare viral zoonosis (a virus transmitted to humans from animals) whose symptoms are less severe than those seen in the past in subjects with smallpox.
Since its eradication in 1980 and subsequent cessation of smallpox vaccination, this orthopoxvirus has become the most important virus of its kind.
Sporadically found in the tropical forests of Central and West Africa. The disease was first identified in humans in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire).
In 2003, cases were confirmed in the United States, the first case outside of Africa. Most had contact with domestic prairie dogs infected with introduced African rodents.