- Sonic Healthcare has begun offering monkeypox testing using the kit developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- The company will accept specimens through its network of clinical laboratories and perform the tests at its reference laboratory in Austin, Texas, using the CDC’s test for monkeypox and other non-smallpox related orthopoxviruses.
- Sonic will work to expand test capacity as needed while collaborating with the CDC’s Laboratory Response Network, which has helped the U.S. scale up to handle 80,000 specimens per week.
The CDC signed up five commercial labs including Labcorp and Quest Diagnostics to increase access to monkeypox testing in June. The addition of the commercial labs to the 78 public health sites testing for monkeypox enabled the U.S. to increase capacity. Having once been limited to 6,000 specimens a week, the country can now handle as much as 80,000 specimens.
Sonic is the latest addition to the effort. Healthcare providers can order the Sonic test as they would any other service, opening another pathway for the diagnosis of a virus that has now been confirmed in almost 2,000 people in the U.S.
“The ability of commercial laboratories to test for monkeypox is an important pillar in our comprehensive strategy to combat this disease,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement. “This will not only increase testing capacity but also make it more convenient for providers and patients to access tests by using existing provider-to-laboratory networks.”
All the commercial labs are now online and working alongside the CDC’s Laboratory Response Network. Labcorp claimed to be first out of the gate when it announced the opening of its monkeypox testing service on July 6.
The testing program is enabled by the CDC’s work to develop a polymerase chain reaction capable of detecting all non-smallpox orthopoxviruses including monkeypox.