Is Monkeypox virus mutating more rapidly than expected? Here’s what researchers say | World News

New Delhi: Monkeypox has been spreading rapidly across the world and making its presence felt in countries where it was a rarity such as US and the UK. It was detected for the first time in Taiwan and Columbia. In India, it hasn’t been detected yet even though there were reports of a few suspected cases. However, all of them have tested negative for the zoonotic virus. 

According to researchers in Portugal, the virus could be mutating more than before as it spreads quickly across the world. In the current outbreak, the virus has shown small changes in its genetic code, gene variants and a deleted gene as per a study in Nature Medicine which was released on Friday (June 24).

‘Unexpected to find so many mutations’, says Joao Paulo Gomes from the National Institute of Health in Lisbon

One of the authors of the report Joao Paulo Gomes said as quoted by the Sunday Morning Herald, “It was quite unexpected to find so many mutations in the 2022 monkeypox virus. In fact, considering the genome characteristics of this type of virus, no more than one or two mutations are likely to emerge each year.”

The researchers also stated that unlike COVID-19, monkeypox virus isn’t mutating as rapidly and hasn’t spread as easily from person to person. They are still unclear on how the mutations will change the course of spread of the virus or its effects.

The World Health Organization has decided the recent outbreak of the monkeypox virus is not a global health emergency currently. In a statement on Saturday (June 25), the WHO said the monkeypox virus which has hit 50 countries this year, should be closely monitored.

“While a few members expressed differing views, the committee resolved by consensus to advise the WHO director-general that at this stage the outbreak should be determined to not constitute a global health emergency,” the WHO said, as per the Associated Press.

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