PH now has PCR test for monkeypox

Metro Manila, June 23 ------ The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine said it has successfully optimized its realtime polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for detecting monkeypox as part of the government’s response to the threat of the reemerging disease.

“The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine has successfully optimized its Realtime PCR assay for detecting Monkeypox Virus as part of the national preparedness and response to the threat of this disease,” said RITM Director IV Celia Carlos in a statement dated June 20. “The RITM technical team is currently optimizing a second PCR assay for differentiating the Monkeypox Virus clade,” Carlos added. RITM will serve as the primary testing and isolation facility for suspect, probable, and confirmed cases of monkeypox.

Monkeypox is a less severe cousin of smallpox that originated from animals and can be transmitted to humans through close contact with an infected individual, according to health authorities. RITM noted that only suspected cases will be tested. According to a Department of Health memorandum, suspected cases are those who have unexplained acute rash and are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms: headache, high fever, myalgia, back pain, physical weakness, and swollen lymph nodes. There is no detected case yet of monkeypox in the Philippines.