Smallpox: PCR tests to detect developing virus

Smallpox: PCR tests to detect developing virus

Pharmaceutical company Roche announced on Wednesday that it had developed PCR tests to detect monkeypox. The virus has already been detected in 16 countries and more than 250 cases have been identified.

Let’s take a look. While several cases of monkeypox have occurred in parts of the world where the disease is not common, Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche announced on Wednesday that it had developed PCR tests to detect the virus.

These tests were developed by Roche and its subsidiary TIB Molbiol. “Roche has very quickly developed a new series of tests to detect the monkey pox virus and monitor its spread,” said Roche, director of Diagnostics, quoted in a press release.

Recent outbreaks, with more than 250 cases already reported in 16 countries as of May 22, according to the World Health Organization, are atypical because they occur in countries where smallpox, 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.

The first cases outside Africa in 2003

The first set detects orthopoxviruses, including monkeypox viruses, the second specifically detects monkeypox viruses, while the third set makes it possible to detect orthopoxviruses while specifying whether or not monkeypox virus is present.

According to the WHO, the disease should be detected by PCR because antigenic tests cannot determine if it is a simian pox virus or other related viruses. The best samples for diagnosis come from lesions, exudate swabs (fluid produced by the wound) or lesion crust.

According to the WHO, monkeypox or simian orthopoxvirus is a rare viral zoonosis (a virus transmitted to humans by animals), the symptoms of which are less severe than those observed in the past in individuals with smallpox.

With its eradication in 1980 and the subsequent discontinuation of smallpox vaccination, this orthopoxvirus has proven to be the most important virus of its kind.

In 2003, cases were confirmed in the United States, marking the first outbreak outside Africa. Most of them were in contact with domestic prairie dogs infected with imported African rodents.

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