Perspective Open Access


Monkeypox was declared a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 23 July 2022. Between 1 January and 23 July 2022, 16,016 laboratory confirmed cases of monkeypox and five deaths were reported to WHO from 75 countries on all continents. Public health authorities are proactively identifying cases and tracing their contacts to contain its spread. As with COVID-19, PCR is the only method capable of being deployed at sufficient speed to provide timely feedback on any public health interventions. However, at this point, there is little information on how those PCR assays are being standardised between laboratories. A likely reason is that testing is still limited on a global scale and that detection, not quantification, of monkeypox virus DNA is the main clinical requirement. Yet we should not be complacent about PCR performance. As testing requirements increase rapidly and specimens become more diverse, it would be prudent to ensure PCR accuracy from the outset to support harmonisation and ease regulatory conformance. Lessons from COVID-19 should aid implementation with appropriate material, documentary and methodological standards offering dynamic mechanisms to ensure testing that most accurately guides public health decisions.


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