IU Health begins monkeypox testing at secure lab
August 31, 2022
Pathology lab cuts testing time from 8 days to 24 hours for Indiana samples
INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana University Health has opened a bio-secure lab that will be the primary testing site for suspected monkeypox samples in Indiana.
IU Health responded quickly in creating a dedicated lab to support the state’s efforts to test for monkeypox, a highly infectious disease that has spread rapidly across the country since the first case was discovered in May.
Scientists and technicians created the testing space at IU Health Pathology Laboratory in downtown Indianapolis in less than two months. The enhanced biosafety level 2 lab enables scientists to safely deactivate the virus in incoming samples and test them for the presence of the monkeypox virus. Current test capacity is 500 samples a day and can grow with demand.
With on-site testing, turn-around time for results has drastically improved from eight to 14 days to only 24-48 hours. Clark Day, vice president of the IU Health Laboratory System, said this contribution will be invaluable to Indiana residents.
“Our ability to develop this test is testament to the expertise of Dr. Ryan Relich, our virologist and molecular pathology medical director, and his team. To launch our test locally means patients throughout Indiana do not have to wait an extended time for their important test results.”
- Since May, Indiana has 162 reported cases of monkeypox, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nationally last week, there were an average of 337 new daily cases.
- Men who have sex with men have been disproportionately affected by the outbreak, but cases have also been reported among women and children. The disease spreads by skin-to-skin contact with an infected person.
- More than 1 million vials of a vaccine effective against monkeypox have been allocated to states and other local jurisdictions, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- Monkeypox is part of the same family of viruses that causes smallpox. While similar to smallpox, monkeypox symptoms tend to be milder and the disease is rarely fatal.
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