Monkeypox testing capacity in the United States will double, the CDC announced Wednesday.
Labcorp will begin testing for monkeypox using the CDC’s orthopoxvirus test, making them the first national laboratory to offer the PCR test. The company will use its largest facility in the U.S. to conduct up to 10,000 tests per week from anywhere in the country, doubling the current testing capacity of the CDC’s Laboratory Response Network.
“The ability of commercial labs to test for monkeypox is a key pillar in our comprehensive strategy to combat this disease,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, said in a press release. “This will not only increase testing capacity but will make it more convenient for providers and patients to access tests by using existing provider-to-lab relationships.”
According to Labcorp, people can go to their health care provider for sample collection, which will initiate the testing process. Health care providers can then order the orthopoxvirus test from Labcorp as they would other tests, and Labcorp will report the results per the CDC’s guidance.
Brian Caveney, MD, chief medical officer and President of Labcorp Diagnostics, said in a statement that the company has the capacity to expand testing to other locations nationwide should it be necessary.
HHS previously announced Labcorp’s interest in providing monkeypox testing, along with four other companies — Aegis Science, Mayo Clinic Laboratories, Quest Diagnostics and Sonic Healthcare. The CDC anticipates these additional laboratories will come online and increase capacity throughout July.
“Thankfully, we have right now the tools to fight and treat cases in America,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, said in a release. “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.”
On June 25, WHO declined to declare the ongoing monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, but genetic sequencing suggests there are at least two separate outbreaks underway outside Africa, and the CDC expects more cases to occur in the U.S. The agency has issued travel alerts and expanded access to vaccines to control the spread of the disease.
HHS expanding monkeypox testing capacity to five commercial laboratory companies. https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2022/06/22/hhs-expanding-monkeypox-testing-capacity-five-commercial-laboratory-companies.html. Posted on June 22, 2022. Accessed on July 6, 2022.
Labcorp first national laboratory to offer monkeypox test. https://www.labcorp.com/labcorp-first-national-laboratory-offer-monkeypox-test. Posted on July 6, 2022. Accessed on July 6, 2022.