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The first complete DNA sequencing of Monkeypox virus in Switzerland

Monkeypox virus

The virus can be identified by a PCR test, especially of the affected lesions and other samples. Credit: HUG

The Geneva Center for Emerging Viral Diseases (UNIGE / HUG) shares the first results of the monkeypox genome sequencing in Switzerland.

Complete monkeypox virus[{” attribute=””>DNA sequence from the two first cases identified in Switzerland, on the 21st and 24th of May 2022. has been made available publicly by the Geneva Center for Emerging Viral Diseases of the Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) and the University of Geneva (UNIGE).

Monkeypox was first identified in 1958 after two outbreaks of a pox-like disease in colonies of monkeys held for study, thus the name “monkeypox.”

The Geneva Centre for Emerging Viral Diseases shares the first sequencing results of the monkeypox genome from Switzerland. This important step will enable further analysis and comparison with genome sequences from other countries. According to preliminary results, the virus sequence of the first two cases in Switzerland is genomically linked to cases reported in several other countries in the context of the current outbreak. The National Reference Laboratory for Emerging Viruses (CRIVE) team shares its genome with the scientific community, via the Platform Genbank.

Four cases of monkeypox have been confirmed by PCR test in Switzerland by the Virology Laboratory at HUG, part of the CRIVE, which is mandated by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) to monitor that type of event. Those cases are part of a larger and unusual outbreak that is ongoing in multiple countries in Europe, South and North America and Australia with more than 400 confirmed cases, according to World Health Organization (WHO), since the reporting of the first case in the United Kingdom on the 7th of May 2022.

The first human case of monkeypox was discovered in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970, at a period of increased effort to eradicate smallpox.

The virus can be identified with a PCR test, especially from affected lesions and other samples. Diagnosis is based to date on tests developed by specialized laboratories such as the one in Geneva. To enable other laboratories in Switzerland and around the world to integrate this test into their portfolio of Orthopoxvirus tests, CRIVE is sharing its protocol.

The CRIVE is closely monitoring the situation and is available for all diagnostic requests related to this outbreak.

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