Quest Diagnostics launching monkeypox tests this summer

Company to be able to perform approximately 30,000 tests a week by end of July, supplementing public health response

Quest Diagnostics on Wednesday announced the nationwide availability of its lab-developed molecular diagnostic test to aid in the diagnosis of infection with the monkeypox virus, with plans to launch the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‘s orthopoxvirus test in the first half of August.

The PCR test, which is administered by a physician, can detect monkeypox and also differentiate that virus from other non-variola orthopoxviruses, the company said.

The company did not say in the news release how much the test will cost.

With the new automated test, Quest expects to be able to perform approximately 30,000 monkeypox virus tests a week by the end of July. Depending on demand, Quest can expand capacity for monkeypox testing across other advanced laboratories in its national network.

On June 22, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Quest Diagnostics is one of five laboratories the CDC selected to expand nationwide test capacity for the monkeypox virus using the CDC’s orthopoxvirus test.

“We commend the HHS and CDC for spearheading public-private collaboration to mobilize response to the current monkeypox outbreak,” Dr. Jay Wohlgemuth, senior vice president, R&D, medical, and chief medical officer, Quest Diagnostics, stated. “Quest’s expertise in infectious disease testing, national scale and relationships with half the country’s physicians and health systems is a vital complement to the efforts of the CDC and other public health labs to combat the monkeypox outbreak in the United States.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the importance of broad access to quality laboratory testing for emerging infectious diseases,” Ruth Clements, vice president and general manager, infectious disease, Quest Diagnostics, said. “Quest’s laboratory developed test complements the CDC test, supporting the public effort with an automated test option for the monkeypox virus.”

Monkeypox is a rare infectious disease typically occurring in parts of Africa. The West African clade is the circulating virus in the current global outbreak. CDC recommends that anyone with monkeypox symptoms talk to their health care provider, even if they don’t think they had contact with someone who has monkeypox.