From our Team
Diagnostic testing and disease surveillance are back in the spotlight as scientists and public health workers closely monitor the current outbreak of monkeypox that has emerged in cities across Europe, the US, Australia and Canada. While the disease is not easily contracted, and in most cases is not life-threatening, the epidemiology of this outbreak is different to that which has been seen previously.
Monkeypox has highlighted challenges faced by diagnostic developers to respond to sporadic and unpredictable demand for outbreak-prone diseases, many of which may have been hidden by the fast pace of innovation at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also underlines the need for sustained global surveillance systems that can detect emerging viruses in every country in the world. The focus on diagnostics for COVID-19 has boosted testing and surveillance capacity worldwide that can be useful for monkeypox, but dramatic inequities remain in low- and middle-income countries.
Until this outbreak of monkeypox in high-income countries emerged in high-income countries in the global north, there were no commercially available PCR tests for the virus. However, a number of primer and probe sequence sets and PCR assay kits for monkeypox virus have now been published and are commercially available, although these assays have generally not been externally validated.
FIND is collating a searchable directory of monkeypox tests. We invite developers to submit details of their tests for inclusion in this database. In case of queries about the submission process, please contact email@example.com.
I will present an overview of available diagnostics and those in the pipeline as well as discuss laboratory research needs at the upcoming WHO R&D Blueprint meeting Monkeypox research: What are the knowledge gaps and priority research questions? on 2 June 2022, 13:00–19:30 CEST. For more details and to register, please click here.
Senior Director of Emerging Threats and Global Health Security