The lab industry is ready for monkeypox, says Quest exec

The World Health Organization declared monkeypox a global emergency July 23, and the U.S. issued a similar declaration Aug. 4. More than 14,000 cases have been confirmed in the U.S. as of Aug. 18, according to CDC data.

Harvey Kaufman, MD, senior medical director at Quest Diagnostics, spoke with Becker's about what the situation is looking like from a lab perspective.

Editor's note: Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Question: How is the monkeypox testing outlook?

Dr. Harvey Kaufman: It's looking great. Honestly, the CDC and the FDA understood the challenges we faced early on with COVID-19 and didn't want to replicate the stumbles that occurred, so there was a lot of communication with health policymakers in the laboratory industry. We had conversations in terms of how the lab industry can support expanded testing, and the FDA and CDC recognized early on that unlocking state laboratories adds a lot of capacity.

[A silver lining] from the COVID-19 pandemic was the laboratory industry developed a closer working relationship with the FDA than we've probably ever had. And, likewise, there's a lot of strong relationships that were built between the lab industry and the CDC. We've leveraged those relationships as we now face monkeypox. We're going to face other emerging infections in the future and we're going to continue to build on those relationships so that we serve the American public as well as we can.

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