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Monkeypox outbreak: This Indian company develops RT-PCR kit to test for virus

Monkeypox updates: The Union government has also asked National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to keep a close watch on the monkeypox situation (VIA REUTERS)Premium
Monkeypox updates: The Union government has also asked National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to keep a close watch on the monkeypox situation (VIA REUTERS)

  • World Health Organisation said on Friday that Monkeypox cases have risen across the world taking the total number of infections to 200 and cases have been reported across 20 countries

Spelling relief amid the ongoing monkeypox scare, a medical devices company on Friday announced that it has developed a real-time RT-PCR-based kit for the detection of Monkeypox (Orthopoxvirus) virus. The World Health Organisation said on Friday that Monkeypox cases have risen across the world taking the total number of infections to 200 and cases have been reported across 20 countries.

"The Research and Development team of Trivitron Healthcare has developed an RT-PCR based kit for the detection of Monkeypox virus. Trivitron's Monkeypox Real-Time PCR Kit is four colour fluorescence based kit, which can differentiate between Smallpox and Monkeypox in a one-tube single reaction format, with a total turnaround time of 1 hour," said a statement by the company.

"The WHO recommended specimen type for laboratory confirmation of Monkeypox is skin lesion material, including swabs of lesion surface and/or exudate, roofs from more than one lesion, or lesion crusts. Hence, both dry swabs and swabs placed in VTM can be used," added the statement.

Meanwhile, Maria Van Kerkhove, the technical lead of Covid-19 response at WHO's Emergency Diseases Unit said, "we have about 200 confirmed cases and more than 100 suspected cases, but we expect those numbers to go up. It is across more than 20 countries and in four WHO regions." 

The health body said this virus has been circulating for decades and very little attention has been paid to this. "Sadly and there are 1000 if not thousands of cases that are occurring there," she said. "We are asking countries to increase surveillance," she said.

According to the top official of World Health Organization most of the cases that have been detected in non-endemic areas are among populations of men having sex with men, that identify as men having sex with men, but it not necessarily will be only exclusive to that group.

"So, we want to make sure that we dont stigmatise anyone related to this. This is about raising awareness. This is not a sexually transmitted infection. We do know that Monkeypox does transmit primarily from physical contact, skin to skin contact and that includes sexual contact," she said. The WHO official noted that Monkeypox is not the same as Covid-19 and "we are not seeing that type of expansion."

Monkeypox is a viral zoonosis (a virus transmitted to humans from animals) with symptoms very similar to those seen in the past in smallpox patients, although it is clinically less severe.

According to WHO, Monkeypox typically presents clinically with fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes and may lead to a range of medical complications. Monkeypox is usually a self-limited disease with symptoms lasting from 2 to 4 weeks.

(With inputs from agencies)

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