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Performance of the Xpert™ Mpox PCR assay with oropharyngeal, anorectal, and cutaneous lesion swab specimens.

Anorectal and oropharyngeal exposures are implicated in sexual transmission of mpox, but authorized assays in the United States are only validated with cutaneous lesion swabs. Diagnostic assays for anorectal and oropharyngeal swabs are needed to address potential future outbreaks. The Cepheid Xpert® Mpox is the first point-of-care assay to receive FDA emergency use authorization in the United States and would be a valuable tool for evaluating these sample types. Our exploratory study demonstrates 100 % positive agreement with our in-house PCR assay for natural positive anorectal and oropharyngeal specimens and 92 % sensitivity with low-positive spiked specimens. The Xpert® assay detected viral DNA in specimens not detected by our reference PCR assay from four participants with mpox DNA at other sites, suggesting it may be more sensitive at low viral loads. In conclusion, the validation of the Xpert® for oropharyngeal and anorectal sample types can be rapidly achieved if clinical need returns and prospective samples become available.

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