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Research: Monkeypox is mutating at 12 times the expected rate

2022-06-29 353People reading Source: CHINADAILY

Research: Monkeypox is mutating at 12 times the expected rate


The monkeypox virus strain that has emerged across the world in recent weeks may be evolving at an abnormally fast rate - making it more infectious than previous versions of the virus.


This means that the virus, which is generally believed to spread by physical touch, contaminated surfaces or very close bodily contact could be able to spread in ways atypical to the tropical viruses normal patterns.


It would explain the recent global monkeypox update, where 201 cases have been detected across 25 U.S. states and Washington D.C., with over 3,500 cases detected worldwide in countries where the virus is not endemic.


Researchers, whose findings are pending official publishing in Nature Medicine, collected and studied 15 samples of the monkeypox virus for the study. The research team restructured the viruses genetic information to find the number of changes the virus had undergone since this strain began its circulation.


While the virus was detected recently in human populations, experts believe this strain of West African monkeypox first began its movement through the world in 2018. DNA viruses like monkeypox generally do not rapidly mutate like COVID-19 does. The nature of the virus allows it to fix errors that emerge when it replicates, leaving much lower room for mutations to form - and in effect limiting the number of variants.


When researchers did investigate this strain of the virus, they found that it had mutated between six to 12 times the generally believed rate for the virus. Why exactly this is cannot be determined, though the experts believe that this could be playing a role in how the virus has managed to storm the world this year.


source: DailyMail

edit: Jing Dong