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Mpox Detected With Sequencing Strategy Developed for Zika, SARS-CoV-2

In PLOS Biology, researchers from the Yale School of Public Health, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and elsewhere describe the application of a multiplexed amplicon-based sequencing method for detecting the monkeypox virus behind mpox infections. Starting with a PrimalSeq approach previously used to identify Zika virus and SARS-CoV-2, the team came up with a human monkeypox virus-centered primer set and PCR cycle threshold values for optimizing viral genome coverage in clinical samples. The authors note that the same strategy was used to detect the human monkeypox virus at 10 public health labs in the US, UK, Brazil, and Portugal that received the primer set. "[W]e show that amplicon-based sequencing can provide a rapidly deployable, cost-effective, and flexible approach to pathogen whole-genome sequencing in response to newly emerging pathogens," the authors reports, adding that "through the implementation of our primer scheme into existing SARS-CoV-2 workflows and across a range of sample types and sequencing platforms, we further demonstrate the potential of this approach for rapid outbreak response."