The monkeypox virus is an Orthopoxvirus commonly contracted from animals to humans in Central and Western African countries. In these endemic regions, people have close contact with African rodents and non-human primates that have been shown to carry the virus. There are two different clades, namely the Western African and Congo Basin. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Congo Basin clade has more severe symptoms and has seen reported mortality in up to 10% of cases, whereas the Western African clade has fatal outcomes in less than 1% of cases.
The WHO reported that more than 2,000 individuals have been infected with monkeypox since January in 42 non-endemic countries. The WHO found that monkeypox virus surveillance is limited in non-endemic countries but is currently expanding. For example, the UK has increased contact tracing and has been vaccinating healthcare professionals and people with direct exposure to prevent the onset of disease.
Increasing surveillance includes more robust contact tracing methods, vaccinating individuals who have prolonged contact with an infected person, and increased testing to ensure infected individuals are isolated to prevent the spread of monkeypox. The monkeypox outbreak is similar to the Zika virus outbreaks seen in 2015 and 2016, which had small pockets of cases worldwide. The Zika outbreaks were ultimately contained due to ring vaccination, vaccinating those who had encountered a positive case, and isolating. They resulted in the launch of 50 in vitro diagnostic (IVD) products for medical use. A similar pattern may, therefore, be seen in the monkeypox outbreaks.
Eurobio recently launched a CE-marked monkeypox screening test that is available for hospital use in France and other European Union (EU) member states. In addition, Roche Diagnostics has released three research-use-only tests to help differentiate between different species of Orthopoxviruses and monkeypox clades. Since there are few medical-use monkeypox tests and increased government efforts to control the virus, the monkeypox IVD market is projected to grow substantially in the coming months as case numbers and surveillance measures both increase.