Monkeypox Testing in the US Set to Double, According to the CDC

Monkeypox testing capacity in the US will double, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Wednesday.

Global life sciences company Labcorp began testing for monkeypox using the CDC’s orthopoxvirus test, making them the first national laboratory to offer the polymerase chain reaction test. Labcorp will use its largest facility in the US to conduct up to 10 000 tests per week, doubling the current capacity provided through the CDC’s Laboratory Response Network (LRN).

“The ability of commercial labs to test for monkeypox is a key pillar in our comprehensive strategy to combat this disease,” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, 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.”

Individuals with a rash that looks similar to monkeypox should talk to their health care provider to determine if they need to get tested, even if they have not had contact with someone who has monkeypox.

Health care providers can order the orthopoxvirus test from Labcorp just as they normally would order other tests, according to the CDC. Using electronic laboratory reporting, Labcorp will report testing results to jurisdictions as outlined in the CDC reporting guidance.

“We will initially perform all monkeypox testing in our main North Carolina lab and have the capacity to expand to other locations nationwide should the need arise,” stated Brian Caveney, MD, chief medical officer and President of Labcorp Diagnostics, in a company press release.

The US Department of Health & Human Services previously announced the shipment of orthopoxvirus tests to Labcorp, along with 4 additional laboratory companies—Aegis Science, Mayo Clinic Laboratories, Quest Diagnostics, and Sonic Healthcare. The CDC anticipates additional laboratories will come online and monkeypox testing will continue to increase throughout July.