Mon, June 27, 2022

in-focus

Ramathibodi Hospital will have monkeypox test kits ready in two weeks


Ramathibodi Hospital’s Centre for Genomics said it has successfully sequenced the genome of monkeypox and is confident it can come up with test kits within two weeks.

The centre announced this achievement on Saturday via Facebook and updated the post on Monday morning.

The post said the centre is ready to help other agencies sequence the monkeypox virus’s genome after the World Health Organisation (WHO) issued a warning about the virus being found in several countries outside Africa, where the disease is endemic.

On Saturday, the WHO announced that cases of monkeypox have been reported by 12 countries across three regions since May 13. As of 1pm on Saturday, there were 92 confirmed and 28 suspected cases of monkeypox.

The WHO said that genome sequencing from a swab sample of a confirmed case in Portugal indicated a close match of the monkeypox variant causing the current outbreak to infections in the UK, Israel and Singapore that were brought in from Nigeria in 2018 and 2019.

The symptoms of monkeypox are fever and skin rashes that can turn infectious, the Centre for Medical Genomics said, adding that the fatality rate is as high as 10 per cent for the Congo strain and 1 per cent for the West African strain.

The centre said that if there are many suspected cases in the country, then agencies concerned can take saliva or pus swabs and process the sample with nucleic acid purification before sending it to the centre for genome sequencing.

The centre currently uses the long-read nanopore sequencing technology to check the genome but is considering using the blueprint of the sequencing system used in Portugal and Belgium and develop a test kit accordingly.

For now though, it said it is developing test kits using the mass-array genotyping technique and should have them ready in two weeks. The kits will cost and take as much time as RT-PCR tests take for checking and confirming Covid-19 infections.

Published : May 23, 2022