Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche announced on Wednesday that it has developed PCR tests for detecting the monkeypox virus, after the appearance of several cases in regions of the world where the disease is not common.
These tests were developed by Roche and its subsidiary TIB Molbiol, “in response to cases of infection with the monkeypox virus which have recently raised concerns,” he said in a press release. “Roche has very quickly developed a new series of tests for the detection of the simian pox virus and the follow-up of its propagation”, observed the director of the Diagnostics division of Roche, quoted in the press release.
The recent outbreaks, with more than 250 cases already reported in 16 countries as of May 22 according to the World Health Organization, are atypical, as 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 countries of the world.
A first kit detects orthopoxviruses, including simianpox viruses, a second specifically detects simianpox viruses, while a third kit makes it possible to detect orthopoxviruses while specifying whether a simianpox virus is present or nope.
Only effective PCR
According to the WHO, the disease should be detected with a PCR test because antigenic tests cannot determine whether it is monkeypox virus or other related viruses. The best samples for diagnosis come from lesions, swabs of exudates (fluid produced by the wound) or crusts from lesions.
Monkeypox or monkeypox is – according to the WHO – a rare viral zoonosis (virus transmitted to humans by animals) whose symptoms are less severe than those observed in the past in subjects with smallpox.