Novacyt launches monkeypox assay in response to outbreak  

Clinical diagnostics company Novacyt has launched a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) monkeypox assay in response to the recent outbreak of the virus non-endemic countries.  

The company’s monkeypox assay is for research-use only (RUO) and has been developed in two forms for the detection of the virus genome in both of its West African and Central African variants. The assay analyses DNA extracted from serum, lesion exudate, or scab samples from human or animal species. The two forms are designed to either work with open test platforms or with Novacyt’s own q16 and q32 instruments.  

Monkeypox is zoonotic infection that is usually found throughout West and Central Africa. The recent rise in cases in non-endemic countries has become concerning due to cases for the virus being extremely low before 2022. In the UK for example, there were seven reported cases of monkeypox between 2018 and 2021.As of 23 June, the UK has seen 910 confirmed cases of the virus.  

Symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, and muscle aches along with characteristic pox lesions. 

Speaking about the UK’s situation, Dr Sophia Makki, Incident Director at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said: “We continue to see a steady increase in monkeypox cases. We’re reminding everyone to be aware of the symptoms of monkeypox, particularly if you’ve recently had new or multiple sexual partners, to help prevent further spread and protect others. 

If you have a rash with blisters, or any other monkeypox symptoms, don’t go to events, meet with friends or have sexual contact. Instead, stay at home and contact 111 or your local sexual health service for advice. Please contact the clinic ahead of your visit and avoid close contact with others until you’ve been reviewed by a clinician.” 

David Allmond, Chief Executive Officer of Novacyt, said: “Our RUO monkeypox assay has been developed in response to the recent outbreak of the virus in non-endemic countries and built around robust design principles and our real-time bioinformatics surveillance to monitor new monkeypox genome sequences. Whilst the risk of transmission of the disease to humans currently remains low, we believe our RUO assays are important tools to assist scientists and clinicians diagnose and monitor emerging infectious disease threats. The launch of this new assay further demonstrates Novacyt’s strength as a global first responder, in line with our strategy, as well as our commitment to expanding our portfolio in infectious disease.” 

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