Module 1.1: Establishment of Monkeypox diagnostics at ISTH, Irrua, Nigeria

Monkeypox is an emerging viral disease that is endemic in Nigeria and regularly causes infections in humans. The recent increase in cases worldwide and reported community spread, emphasises the importance of Monkeypox virus (MPXV) as a relevant pathogen for humans which needs to be surveyed closely.

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ILFRC staff get trained on Monkeypox sample inactivation at the glovebox by BNITM (Source: BNITM)

To support the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH) with the establishment of Monkeypox virus diagnostics, and to increase the diagnostic capacities of the Institute for Lassa Fever Research and Control (ILFRC), a team from Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNITM) trained ILFRC staff in a diagnostic real-time PCR assay detecting Orthopox viruses, including Monkeypox virus (MPXV) on 15-29 May 2022. The assay is based on the publication of Scaramozzino et. al. (2007) and can now be run on all diagnostic real-time PCR devices available at ISTH. Samples of four patients suspected to have an MPVX infection have been analyzed and found negative for Orthopox viruses.

ILFRC staff performing PCR set-up for Monkeypox virus diagnostics during training provided by BNITM (Source: BNITM)

In addition to the laboratory training, ISTH clinicians were provided with information on the correct specimen collection for the detection of Monkeypox virus. Five experienced scientific officers of ILFRC have been trained by BNITM staff for (1) sample preparation including safe inactivation of infectious material and decontamination procedures, (2) DNA extraction, (3) real-time PCR setup and (4) results analysis, and all necessary reagents have been handed over to the team. Short working instructions for all procedures and a worksheet to document the whole process have been developed and made available. Further to the training on site, the team will be supported remotely by BNITM and supplied with further diagnostic reagents if needed.

Date: June 2022

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