Qiagen has rolled out the QIAstat-Dx Viral Vesicular Panel RUO, its new syndromic test to distinguish between monkeypox and five other pathogens which cause similar symptoms.

The new syndromic test panel is currently being offered for research use only (RUO), where it can only be used for the surveillance, but not for screening of monkeypox cases.

The QIAstat-Dx Viral Vesicular Panel RUO is designed to be in a cartridge form, to run on the company’s QIAstat-Dx automated syndromic testing devices.

It can differentiate between the West African and Congo Basin forms of monkeypox virus, herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV1), HSV2, human herpesvirus 6 (HH6), varicella-zoster virus (VZV) and enterovirus.

All the six pathogens produce similar vesicular lesions, said the German molecular diagnostics company.

Qiagen senior vice president and molecular diagnostics business area head Jean-Pascal Viola said: “Monkeypox cases are soaring across the globe with many demographic groups infected. Surveillance is an essential tool in the fight against infectious diseases.

“QIAstat-Dx Viral Vesicular Panel in combination with the QIAstat-Dx platform will allow medical researchers to detect monkeypox with gold-standard PCR testing-technology in about one hour.

“Currently the world’s only syndromic test for the pathogen, the panel will prove to be crucial for detecting and then combatting the spread of monkeypox around the globe.”

Monkeypox disease has been recently declared as a ‘public health emergency’ by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US government.

Qiagen has installed more than 3,000 QIAstat-Dx PCR devices in specialised laboratories worldwide, to use syndromic testing to help fight the spread of monkeypox.

The company plans to seek regulatory approval in the US and the European Union (EU) for clinical use of the test, under open new diagnostic pathways.

Qiagen said that its new QIAstat-Dx Viral Vesicular Panel RUO is the latest addition to its QIAstat syndromic testing solutions.

The company has offered QIAstat-Dx Respiratory SARS-CoV-2 panel to differentiate between up to 23 viral and bacterial pathogens, during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Its high-throughput QIAstat-Dx Rise device can process up 160 tests per day.

Furthermore, it has extended syndromic testing to other areas, including gastrointestinal conditions and meningitis, claimed Qiagen.