Qiagen has introduced its new research use only (RUO) QIAstat-Dx Viral Vesicular Panel in an effort to combat the global monkeypox health emergency.

The new panel has been designed to distinguish between monkeypox and five other pathogens that cause similar symptoms.

In a cartridge form, it has been developed to run on the company’s QIAstat-Dx automated syndromic testing devices.

The new multiplex PCR syndromic cartridge can detect and differentiate the West African and Congo Basin forms of the monkeypox virus, as well as herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV1), HSV2, varicella-zoster virus (VZV), enterovirus and human herpesvirus 6 (HH6).

The company stated that all the pathogens produce similar vesicular lesions.

Qiagen Molecular Diagnostics Business Area head and senior vice-president Jean-Pascal Viola said: “Monkeypox cases are soaring across the globe with many demographic groups infected. Surveillance is an essential tool in the fight against infectious diseases.

“QIAstat-Dx Viral Vesicular Panel in combination with the QIAstat-Dx platform will allow medical researchers to detect monkeypox with gold-standard PCR testing technology in about one hour.

“Currently the world’s only syndromic test for the pathogen, the panel will prove to be crucial for detecting and then combatting the spread of monkeypox around the globe.”

Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) and US Government declared monkeypox a public health emergency.

The company noted that the new QIAstat-Dx Viral Vesicular Panel is currently being offered for RUO and can only be used for surveillance, not for diagnosing or screening of monkeypox cases.

It plans to seek approval in the US as well as the European Union (EU) for clinical use of the test.

Qiagen has installed nearly 3,000 QIAstat-Dx PCR devices in specialised labs globally and is using its syndromic testing to help fight the spread of monkeypox.

In February, the company reported a 20% increase in net sales at constant exchange rates (CER) to $2.25bn for full-year 2021.