New studies suggest that monkeypox virus is mutating at a much faster rate than normally expected and is likely to have undergone a period of “acceleration of evolution.”
Virus infected above 3,500 people in 48 countries Since it was detected outside Africa in May, it can be more infectious due to dozens of new mutations.According to a new study published in the journal on June 24, the virus has 50 new mutations not found in previous strains detected between 2018 and 2019. Nature medicine (Opens in a new tab)..Scientists usually don’t expect virus Like monkeypox, the study authors said they would acquire one or more mutations each year.
Monkeypox is a rare disease that virologists believe can naturally circulate in monkeys and rodents. The orthopox virus originates from the same family and genus as the smallpox virus that causes smallpox and usually does not spread far beyond the endemic West and Central Africa. But this year, the first widespread outbreak of the disease spread beyond Africa, surprised scientists and began to consider whether the World Health Organization (WHO) would classify the outbreak. International public health emergencies..
Monkeypox virus strains can be divided into two clade or lineage known as clade in West Africa and the Congo Basin. According to STAT.. The virus mortality rate of each clade is different. West African clades have a case fatality rate of about 1%, while Congo Basin clades kill an estimated 10% of infected people. The ongoing outbreak appears to be caused by a West African clade, STAT reported.
As a big double chain DNA Virus, monkeypox is much better than fixing replication errors RNA Viruses such as HIV. This means that current monkeypox strains should have actually accumulated only a handful of mutations since they first started circulating in 2018. However, after collecting DNA from 15 monkeypox virus samples and reconstructing their genetic information, researchers found that the mutation rate was 6 to 12 times higher than they expected.
The significant increase in monkeypox virus mutation rates “is far beyond expectations given previous estimates of orthopoxvirus substitution rates,” the researchers wrote in a paper. “Our data reveal additional clues to the ongoing evolution of the virus and potential human adaptation.”
Historically, monkeypox is transmitted from person to person through close skin contact with open skin lesions, body fluids, contaminants, or airborne coughing respiratory droplets. However, the unprecedented rate of new infections may suggest that something may have changed about how the virus infects its host, due to new mutations. There is a possibility.
Many of the mutations identified by researchers also have clues that the virus may have emerged due to contact with humans. Immune system, Specifically a family of enzymes that fight the virus called APOBEC3. These enzymes attack the virus by making mistakes when copying the genetic code. This is usually the act of breaking down a virus. But sometimes, the virus survives the encounter and simply picks up some mutations in its genetic code, According to STAT.. Researchers have theorized that this type of battle may have occurred repeatedly and the virus may have picked up many mutations in a short period of time.
The mutation rate of the virus increased in 2018, and there are some explanations for why. Since then, the virus may have picked up numerous new mutations through the fight against enzymes and circulated at low levels in humans. Alternatively, the virus may have spread among animals in non-endemic countries without our knowledge for quite some time, and then this year it suddenly bounced off humans.
Or, after the monkeypox outbreak struck Nigeria in 2017, the virus could have spread primarily to African countries and evolved rapidly as it moved between smaller communities before resurrecting in non-epidemic countries this year. I have.
Despite its name, monkeypox is most commonly transmitted from rodents to humans. Of these, the giant pouched rat, the striped mouse, the giant pouched rat, and the porcupine are thought to be the main reservoirs for the disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention..
Monkeypox became so widespread in the United States in 2003, when 71 people were infected with West African clades after infected Gambian pouch drats imported from Ghana to Texas were infected with local prairie dogs.
Direct treatment of monkeypox has not yet been tested, but doctors are giving patients antivirals and antibodies taken from people immunized with the smallpox vaccine. Vaccination with monkeypox or smallpox also reduces infection, and scientists can prevent infection by inoculating close contact with the first case. This is a strategy known as “ring vaccination” that led to the eradication of smallpox in 1980.
Originally published on Live Science.
Monkeypox may have undergone “accelerated evolution,” scientists say
Source link Monkeypox may have undergone “accelerated evolution,” scientists say