Seegene said Tuesday it has developed a diagnostic reagent for the monkeypox virus, Novaplex MPXV Assay, using its AI-based automatic reagent development system, Seegene Digitalized Development System (SGDDS).
Since the first discovery of the monkeypox virus in the U.K. last month, the African endemic disease has spread to more than 50 countries, and Korea also confirmed its first case on June 22. Three days later, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that monkeypox is an evolving health threat and stressed that the government and others should start monitoring, tracking contacts and performing diagnostic tests.
The fatality rate of monkeypox is about 3-6 percent, and children and immunocompromised individuals are classified as high-risk groups.
Monkeypox has a treatment so it can be treated if an accurate diagnosis is made. In particular, treatments are effective when used in the early stages of infection. Consequently, experts emphasize that based on a maximum incubation period of 21 days, it is necessary to quickly screen suspects for monkeypox infection through preemptive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests to prevent virus transmission.
Seegene explained that its product could determine the presence of the monkeypox virus in one-and-a-half hours, adding that it hurried to develop it to help curb the virus's global spread. Next, the company will begin supplying the product to countries where the monkeypox virus is spreading, including Europe.
"Monkeypox is an example of the spread of endemic diseases around the world, and it is a warning that another pandemic could threaten human health at any time," CEO Chun Jong-yoon said, "We will try to develop products that block the possibility of another pandemic with a quick, accurate diagnosis."