Lab capacity far exceeds monkeypox tests despite rising cases

Despite labs ramping up their production to assess thousands of monkeypox tests per week, some labs are receiving a scarce number of tests, according to CNN.

Over the past few weeks, five labs — Labcorp, Mayo Clinic Laboratories, Quest Diagnostics, Aegis Science and Sonic Healthcare — have increased from being able to assess 6,000 tests per week to 70,000 per week. The HHS recruited the labs June 22, and they account for nearly 90 percent of the nation's capabilities to process monkeypox PCR tests. 

Aegis Science can process 5,000 tests per week but received zero samples over the past two weeks, and Mayo Clinic can process 1,000 per week but received 45 samples since July 11, according to CNN. 

"This is really, really concerning," Peter Chin-Hong, MD, a member of the California Department of Public Health's Monkeypox Virus Scientific Advisory Committee, told CNN. "It's like COVID PTSD." 

It isn't an exact parallel, since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic saw high demand but few available tests, while the global monkeypox outbreak currently faces low demand and high testing capabilities. 

Labcorp's president of diagnostics, Brian Caveney, MD, told CNN the number of tests has increased but is still "extremely low."

Before labs increased their test-processing capacities, health experts warned the national case count could be higher than what's reported.

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