Quest Diagnostics announce today it will become the third major commercial lab in the United States to test for monkeypox virus. The company announced that healthcare providers across the country should have access to the test in the first half of August.
With Quest, Labcorp, and Mayo Clinic all offering tests—as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—the country should have the capacity to perform 60,000 tests weekly by the end of this month. Half of those tests will be performed by Quest.
“We commend the [Department of Health and Human Services] and CDC for spearheading public-private collaboration to mobilize response to the current monkeypox outbreak,” said Jay G. Wohlgemuth, MD, senior vice president, R&D, medical and chief medical officer, Quest Diagnostics in a press release. “Quest’s expertise in infectious disease testing, national scale and relationships with half the country’s physicians and health systems is a vital complement to the efforts of the CDC and other public health labs to combat the monkeypox outbreak in the United States.”
In related developments, Siga Technologies says it has received $28 million in orders for its antiviral for monkeypox. The drug, Tpoxx, is approved in Europe and the United Kingdom to fight monkeypox infections, and in the United States to fight smallpox.
Outbreak may be fueled by new clade
A phylogenomic analysis of available monkeypox virus genomes from the current outbreak reveals that a novel clade appears to have emerged in Europe in early March. That clade, coupled with dwindling previous immunity from smallpox vaccines, likely help the virus spread, the authors say.
In a new epidemiologic report on the outbreak in Spain, 85.8% of the case-patients who had available information said their likely route of transmission was intimate and prolonged contact during sex. Most patients also experienced an anogenital rash and swollen lymph nodes, and 61.1% of patients live in Madrid.
A total of 1,242 initial cases were in men, with 14 in women. The median age of case-patients was 37 years, and all but 1 of the case-patients were adults, the authors said.