KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Knoxville lab has developed a PCR test for the monkeypox virus.

For the past several months a team at Integrity Laboratories has been hard at work creating a test for the virus. The lab has completed testing to make sure it works and they are now ready to launch the test. It can now be ordered by clinicians and used for diagnosis.

PCR stands for polymerase chain reaction. It detects genetic material from certain bacteria, viruses, or other microorganisms to help diagnose an infection according to the National Cancer Institute. The tests have most recently been used to diagnose COVID-19.

“Like with COVID-19, our teams have been really hard at work over the past few months. Developing a test to be able to detect monkeypox and the other ortho virus targets. We just finished our testing a few weeks ago and have been building inventory currently and are now ready to launch it here in Eastern Tennessee,” said Christian Clevenger, CEO at Integrity Laboratories.

This is the collection kit designed by Integrity Laboratories for their monkeypox PCR test. It requires three samples to be collected, so there is a greater likelihood of an accurate result. (WATE)

At this time, it takes six to eight hours to run a specimen through the testing process. The lab’s CEO said the result should be available within 24 to 48 hours of receiving the specimen.

“We try to get out in front of these potential infectious diseases so that by the time Knoxville, Tennessee begins to see any tests that come back positive here, we’re ready to begin a full-on onslaught of testing,” said Clevenger.

According to the Center for Disease Control, monkeypox can be spread through direct skin-to-skin contact or through respiratory droplets, however, the CDC notes that prolonged face-to-face exposure is likely required to become infected. The disease typically presents 7-14 days after exposure. The symptoms of the virus include fever, headache, muscle ache, backaches, chills, exhaustion, and swollen lymph nodes.

“With monkeypox, it’s critical that we’re able to identify this virus early on. We are currently working on some saliva-based products that will help us to identify it even earlier. Unfortunately, at this point in time saliva-based products are not quite as sensitive as the swabbing of the wound is,” said Clevenger.

So far, one case of monkeypox has been confirmed in Knox County.