Labcorp has announced plans to commence testing for monkeypox virus using a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based orthopoxvirus assay.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) test has been designed for the identification of all non-smallpox-related orthopoxviruses, including monkeypox.

This is said to be part of the CDC’s commitment to quickly increasing access and capacity of monkeypox testing during the ongoing outbreak.

Labcorp claimed that it is the first national laboratory to provide this PCR-based orthopoxvirus assay, as well as the first to introduce a more automated option.

The company plans to offer testing at its largest US laboratory, accepting samples from its customers, along with overflow from public laboratories, across the country.

Labcorp expects to increase its capacity up to 10,000 tests a week. This will double the existing capacity provided through the CDC’s Laboratory Response Network (LRN).

The company will also be able to provide increased testing by using the established relationships with the hospitals, clinics and health care providers it serves.

Labcorp Diagnostics chief medical officer and president Dr Brian Caveney said: “Labcorp appreciates the opportunity to support the CDC in its efforts to keep the public safe and manage the monkeypox outbreak.

“We will initially perform all monkeypox testing in our main North Carolina lab and have the capacity to expand to other locations nationwide should the need arise.”

Using electronic laboratory reporting (ELR), the company will send the results to jurisdictions according to the CDC’s reporting guidance.

In May, Labcorp launched a new test to measure Lymphocyte-activation gene 3 (LAG-3) expression levels by immunohistochemistry in tumour tissue of individuals with skin cancer.