Can a Covid like home test work for monkeypox?


NEW YORK: While rapid home test kits have become an instant hit during the Covid-19 pandemic, a similar attempt for monkeypox seems unlikely, according to media reports.

The recent global outbreak of monkeypox brings a sense of deja vu with the Covid pandemic, which included painful swabs, the struggle to find a test and a long wait for results. But diseases are different, The Verge reported.

Unlike Covid, monkeypox is not a respiratory disease; and the test for Covid targeted the nose and mouth.

Monkeypox, on the other hand, manifests with painful blister-like sores and other symptoms like fever and muscle aches. Currently, the disease is detected by swabbing the sores that appear during an infection.

Monkeypox is a “different enough” infection, said Ben Pinsky, co-medical director of point-of-care testing at Stanford Health Care in the United States.

There’s still a lot of work to be done to determine whether people are able to successfully clean their own lesions, which could be painful or difficult, he added.

Additionally, the reliance on lesions means that patients can only be tested once the telltale signs of disease appear. People who remain asymptomatic – especially without lesions – would not be able to get tested.

People can test for Covid-19, however, without waiting for specific symptoms to appear.

“I’m a big proponent of home testing for disease, but you have to have the right sample at the right time, and we’re not there yet,” said Paul Yager, a professor in the department of bioengineering at the Institute. Washington University. was quoted as saying.

But, the potential of rapid home test kits cannot be overlooked, according to the report.

A small study, published in Eurosurveillance in June, detected monkeypox virus DNA in the saliva and semen of 12 patients in Spain.

A California-based company, Flow Health, has also developed a saliva-based molecular test for monkeypox, which asks people to spit into a tube and then send the sample for a PCR test.

The test is not authorized or approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration, which requires that monkeypox tests be performed on lesions

The company is sharing its saliva test data with the FDA as the agency checks whether it needs to update its guidelines, Flow Health CEO Alex Meshkin told The Verge.

However, much more needs to be done to determine how and when monkeypox virus appears in different parts of the body during illness, which will influence the efficiency and accuracy of tests that do not use lesions. . be.

If the monkeypox virus appears in saliva before lesions develop, for example, a saliva-based test could help flag the disease at an early stage. But if not, this type of test might not be as helpful, the report says.


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