Sonic Healthcare USA (Sonic) will begin testing for monkeypox using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) orthopoxvirus test, which detects most non-smallpox related orthopoxviruses, including monkeypox.
“The ability of commercial laboratories to test for monkeypox is an important pillar in our comprehensive strategy to combat this disease,” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, M.D., M.P.H. “This will not only increase testing capacity but also make it more convenient for providers and patients to access tests by using existing provider-to-laboratory networks.”
Sonic will offer this testing at Sonic Reference Laboratory in Austin, TX and can accept specimens through its network of clinical laboratories located across the United States. Sonic will continue to expand test capacity as needed while collaborating with the CDC’s Laboratory Response Network (LRN).
On June 22, HHS announced that five commercial laboratory companies would soon begin offering monkeypox testing. Since then, CDC has shipped the tests to the laboratories and their employees have been trained on their administration, among other steps. All commercial labs are now online, and combined with the CDC’s Laboratory Response Network, have increased testing capacity from 6,000 initially to up to 80,000 specimens per week.
Since the start of the outbreak, CDC has worked closely with clinicians to ensure that they are expanding the use of testing and ordering tests for their patients accordingly. That outreach included:
- Publishing a Health Alert Notice that reached thousands of clinicians and updated and expanded the case definition to encourage testing for monkeypox in people with a rash and who may be at risk for developing monkeypox.
- Hosting two COCA calls with clinicians with more than 17,000 participants.
- Conducting ongoing consultations through a Clinician Call Center that was quickly set up to respond to individual providers and state and local health officials.
- Participating in an American Medical Association webinar last week.
Anyone with a rash that looks like monkeypox should talk to their healthcare provider about whether they need to get tested, even if they don’t think they had contact with someone who has monkeypox. Healthcare providers, nationwide, can order the orthopoxvirus test from Sonic just as they normally would order other tests. People seeking testing for monkeypox must consult with their healthcare provider first; they cannot separately go to a Sonic lab, submit a specimen, and request testing. Sonic will use electronic laboratory reporting to report results to jurisdictions as outlined in the CDC reporting guidance.