Roche develops unique PCR tests to detect the monkeypox virus

RocheRoche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) and its subsidiary TIB Molbiol have developed three unique LightMix® Modular Virus kits in response to recent monkeypox virus concerns. Multiple clusters of the monkeypox virus have been reported within the past two weeks in several European countries and North America, which are regions where the virus is not normally found.

"Roche has very quickly developed a new suite of tests that detect the monkeypox virus and aid in following its epidemiologic spread," said Thomas Schinecker, CEO Roche Diagnostics. "Diagnostic tools are crucial for responding to and ultimately controlling emerging public health challenges as they advance response measures such as tracing efforts and treatment strategies."

The first LightMix Modular Virus kit detects orthopoxviruses, including all monkeypox viruses from both the West African and Central African forms of the virus (referred to as clades).The second kit is a specific test detecting monkeypox viruses only (West African and Central African clade). For researchers interested in obtaining both of these results, a third kit is available that simultaneously detects orthopoxviruses plus provides information on whether a monkeypox virus is present or not (West African and Central African clade).

The test kits are available for research use in the majority of countries worldwide.

About the LightMix® Modular Orthopox / MonkeypoxVirus kits

The LightMix® Modular Orthopox /Monkeypox Virus Kits are assays that detect Orthopoxviruses, including the monkeypox virus, using a technology called quantitative PCR (qPCR). To do this, first sample using an established NA extraction method. The assay is then performed on either a LightCycler® 480 II Instrument or cobas z 480 Analyzer. The kit, reagents and instruments are all available to purchase from the majority of Roche Diagnostics affiliates.

About the virus

Monkeypox was first detected in laboratory monkeys in 1958. The virus is, however, assumed to transmit from wild animals such as rodents to people - or from human to human. In an average year, a few thousand cases occur in Western and Central Africa. But cases outside Africa have been limited to just a handful that are associated with travel to Africa or with the importation of infected animals. Treatments and vaccines that were developed for smallpox are available and are thought to be useful to limit spreading of Monkeypox.(1)

About Roche

Founded in 1896 in Basel, Switzerland, as one of the first industrial manufacturers of branded medicines, Roche has grown into the world's largest biotechnology company and the global leader in in-vitro diagnostics. The company pursues scientific excellence to discover and develop medicines and diagnostics for improving and saving the lives of people around the world. We are a pioneer in personalised healthcare and want to further transform how healthcare is delivered to have an even greater impact. To provide the best care for each person we partner with many stakeholders and combine our strengths in Diagnostics and Pharma with data insights from the clinical practice.

In recognising our endeavor to pursue a long-term perspective in all we do, Roche has been named one of the most sustainable companies in the pharmaceuticals industry by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for the thirteenth consecutive year. This distinction also reflects our efforts to improve access to healthcare together with local partners in every country we work.

Genentech, in the United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche is the majority shareholder in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan.

1. Kozlov, M., Monkeypox goes global: why scientists are on alert. May 2022. Available at: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-01421-8. Accessed 23 May 2022.

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