UNC is developing its own monkeypox test that reduces the wait time for results

CHAPEL HILL, NC (WNCN) – The state health department is reporting 114 cases of monkeypox in North Carolina, and doctors say prompt diagnosis of the disease is key to slowing the spread. Now UNC has developed a test that can be done right in the hospital’s lab, and doctors say it can cut the time it takes to get results.

The director of the Clinical Microbiology Lab at UNC Medical Center, Dr. Melissa Miller and her team have developed tests for COVID and other viruses. As cases of monkeypox increased, they quickly got to work.

“We decided pretty quickly that we probably needed to offer the testing in-house,” she explained.

Now, she says, UNC has the first hospital lab in the state to offer in-house monkeypox testing.

Developed by UNC, the test works just like other monkeypox tests by swabbing lesions. dr Miller says the difference is how quickly they can get results using their own lab. For the past week, the tests have been available at UNC Health locations.

“All of our urgent supplies, all of our clinics, all of our affiliated hospitals can send us tests,” she noted. “Once we receive it, we’ll have the results in about 24 hours.”

Most other facilities must send tests to an outside lab.

“When we sent to a reference lab, we saw a turnaround time of three to five days, with no testing done over the weekend,” Miller said. “We’re flipping it the same day and even testing on the weekends, so patients get their results earlier and either relax a bit or know they have longer isolation ahead of them.”

It also means people who have tested positive can quickly warn others who may have been exposed.

“The faster the better, then you can trace the contacts and get information about those people,” Miller said.

People who test positive can be given a vaccine that can keep them from getting the disease. According to the CDC, the sooner they get the shot after exposure, the more likely they are to prevent diseases.

At the moment Dr. Miller that UNC does about 10 tests a day, but they have the capacity to do about 100 a day if needed.

Monkeypox tests are also available at county health departments and other health facilities, but results may take longer to come back.

https://www.cbs17.com/community/health/unc-develops-in-house-monkeypox-test-reducing-wait-time-for-results/ UNC is developing its own monkeypox test that reduces the wait time for results

Dais Johnston

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