Roche introduces PCR tests for monkeypox

Roche presented this Wednesday PCR tests to detect the monkeypox virus. The Swiss pharmaceutical company and its subsidiary TIB Molbiol have developed three different kits.

The first detects the virus in the broader group of orthopoxviruses. The second kit is capable of detecting only the monkeypox viruses, while the last one detects both simultaneously.

“Roche has very quickly developed a new set of tests that detect the monkeypox virus and help track its epidemiological spread,” said head of diagnostics Thomas Schinecker.

“Diagnostic tools are crucial to responding to and controlling emerging public health challenges as they advance response measures such as screening efforts and treatment strategies,” he added.

According to the Directorate-General for Health (DGS), Portugal has already confirmed 49 cases of Monkeypox, most in the Lisbon and Tagus Valley region, but there are also cases in the North and Algarve regions.

The DGS continues to monitor the situation at the national level in conjunction with the European institutions.

The smallpox vaccine, as well as antivirals and the immunoglobulin ‘vaccinia’ (VIG), can be used as prevention and treatment for Monkeypox, a rare disease.

Outside Europe, the virus has already been detected, namely in the United States, Israel, Canada and Australia.

The disease, which is named after the virus, was first identified in humans in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, after the virus was detected in 1958 following two outbreaks of a smallpox-like disease that occurred in colonies of monkeys kept in captivity for investigation – hence the name “Monkeypox” (“monkey” means monkey and “pox” means smallpox).