Working through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) began shipping monkeypox tests to five commercial lab companies this week.
It aims to boost the nation’s monkeypox testing capacity at large, with assistance from Aegis Science, Labcorp, Mayo Clinic Laboratories, Quest Diagnostics, and Sonic Healthcare. By targeting some of the biggest reference labs and others, HHS intends to make testing more convenient and accessible for patients and health care providers. Providers should get access to the labs by early July, and testing capacity will ramp up to coincide.
“All Americans should be concerned about monkeypox cases. Thankfully we have right now the tools to fight and treat cases in America,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said. “By dramatically expanding the number of testing locations throughout the country, we are making it possible for anyone who needs to be tested to do so.”
As of June 21, 142 cases of monkeypox have been reported in the United States – a considerable amount for what has previously been a relatively rare, if potent, disease. As a result, commercial labs are leaping to increase testing, build on existing relationships within the health industry and work to assess the scope of the new outbreak better.
The CDC is also working within the public health Laboratory Response Network (LRN) to expand capacity and augment the number of public health labs that can perform the required testing. At the same time, it is collaborating with state and local health departments to improve LRN’s processes and help better educate healthcare providers and their partners on monkeypox.