Indiana University Health has opened a bio-secure lab that will be the primary testing site for suspected monkeypox samples in Indiana.

IU Health responded quickly in creating a dedicated lab to support the state’s efforts to test for the monkeypox virus.

Scientists and technicians created the testing space at IU Health Pathology Laboratory in downtown Indianapolis in less than two months. The enhanced biosafety level 2 lab enables scientists to safely deactivate the virus in incoming samples and test them for the presence of the monkeypox virus. Current test capacity is 500 samples a day and can grow with demand.

With on-site testing, turn-around time for results has drastically improved from eight to 14 days to only 24-48 hours. Clark Day, vice president of the IU Health Laboratory System, says this contribution will be invaluable to Indiana residents.

“Our ability to develop this test is testament to the expertise of Dr. Ryan Relich, our virologist and molecular pathology medical director, and his team,” Day says. “To launch our test locally means patients throughout Indiana do not have to wait an extended time for their important test results.”

Since May, Indiana has approximately 162 reported cases of monkeypox, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Men who have sex with men have been disproportionately affected by the outbreak, but cases have also been reported among women and children. The disease spreads by skin-to-skin contact with an infected person.