HS Turku Turku has started to develop a test for monkey pox – “We must be prepared for all situations”

The disease identification test will be completed in the next few weeks. There is one medicine for treatment in Finland, but its side effects outweigh the benefits.

At the University of Turku Preparations have begun at the central hospital for the fact that monkeypox may land in Finland. Chief Physician of Clinical Microbiology Tytti Vuorinen reports that the Tyksin Clinical Microbiology Laboratory is currently building a PCR test to identify monkey pox.

“The work started last week. In practice, we started as soon as the first news about the spread of monkey pox came, ”says Vuorinen.

Monkey pox has generally been found in Central and West Africa, but has also been reported in Europe and North America in recent weeks. One case has also been reported in Sweden.

Vuorinen says that each laboratory has to build its own test.

“Commercial tests for monkey pox are not yet available.”

Gene primers required for the test have been ordered from abroad for the laboratory. They are substances that react with the monkey poxvirus cells in the sample. Once the necessary materials have been obtained for Tyse, the construction and adjustment of the test method begins. According to Vuorinen, it is done in much the same way as a test that recognizes coronavirus.

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The test should be fine-tuned so that it is at the same time sensitive enough to detect the virus, but also reliable enough not to give erroneous results.

According to Vuorinen, it will take a few more weeks before the test is used. The sample required for the test is taken from a blister that has risen on the skin of the patient.

For the time being, monkey pox can only be tested in Finland at HUS, which has a laboratory for viruses of animal origin.

According to Vuorinen, however, smallpox is considered to be such a significant threat that Finland needs more extensive knowledge to identify it.

“We have a security laboratory in Tyks and have been preparing for new threats for years. This has also been done with Sars, Mers and bird flu. ”

Virology expert However, Vuorinen does not consider it inevitable that smallpox will land in Finland at all.

“Personally, I think it might not come here. But we have to be prepared for all situations. ”

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He says he is serious about indications that the virus has become more susceptible to infection. This is indicated by its rapid spread in Europe.

“It may be so, although I haven’t seen any studies published yet.”

Until very recently, it has been a very rare disease and the chains of infection have remained short.

“If it happens to come to Finland, I believe that the virus will not spread in Finland without our notice,” says Vuorinen.

According to THL, a significant proportion of recently reported cases have been related to sexual intercourse between men, but the mode of transmission is still unclear. Cases have also been reported in non-sexual minorities.

A person infected with monkey pox may develop blister-like skin changes resembling chickenpox. Fever and a general feeling of illness may occur a few days before the onset of the rash.

Read more: The monkey pox virus seems to have found a new way to spread between people, widespread spread unlikely

About infectious diseases chief physician Mari Kanerva says that doctors in the Turku area have been informed of the possible arrival of monkey pox.

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Guidelines for the treatment of the disease are currently being prepared. For now, let’s play it safe. Should a suspected carrier enter the health center, nurses would wear protective clothing and gloves as well as FFP respirator.

“It’s not a very contagious disease, but at this point we would introduce the strongest level of protection,” says Kanerva.

The disease usually heals on its own in a few weeks. However, it can be dangerous for at-risk groups. According to Kanerva, only a small proportion of cases reported in Europe have required hospital treatment. No one has died so far.

Kanerva says that one drug, cidofovir, has been approved in Finland for the treatment of monkey pox. However, it is so harmful to the kidneys that the drug should only be used in exceptional cases.

“Its disadvantages outweigh its benefits,” Kanerva points out.

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