Lab technicians work inside the laboratory at Chembio Diagnostics Factory...

Lab technicians work inside the laboratory at Chembio Diagnostics Factory in Medford last week. Credit: James Carbone

Chembio Diagnostics Inc. is "evaluating the potential" to develop a rapid monkeypox test, the company said.

The Hauppauge-based maker of diagnostic tests for Zika, Ebola and Covid-19 said in a statement that it is in talks with federal and state health agencies to gauge the need for a point-of-care test that could diagnose monkeypox on the spot.

Dr. David Hirschwerk, medical director of North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset and an infectious disease expert, said that reported monkeypox cases in the United States are trending down, but the reasons for the decline are unclear.

"We don't know if it will trend up at some point," he said.

As of Wednesday, there were 41 reported monkeypox cases in Nassau County, 51 in Suffolk and 2,986 in New York City, according to the New York State Dept. of Health.

Richard Eberly, Chembio's president and chief executive, said the company is assessing market needs, timing, financing and regulatory issues in deciding whether to develop a rapid monkeypox test.

A monkeypox test offered by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the only one approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the company said. Results from that test typically are available within a few days.

"Having additional diagnostic testing might be helpful for some people," Hirschwerk said.

 Shares of Chembio climbed 5.7% to close Thursday at 64 cents.

In August, the federal government declared a public health emergency to free up funds to battle the monkeypox outbreak.

Symptoms of monkeypox can include: rashes, bumps, or blisters and flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, and fatigue. Monkeypox is spread through physical contact between individuals or contact with respiratory secretions or objects like bedding or towels that were used by those infected.

   

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