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Scientists reveal a possible cause of the rapid spread of monkeypox


To date, more than 3,500 cases of the disease have been registered in 44 countries.

The monkeypox virus is mutating much faster than expected when is transmitted between humans, according to a new study that provides a possible explanation for the rapid spread of the disease.

In their report published on Friday in Nature Medicine, a group of Portuguese researchers reported on the results of the “application of metagenomics high-throughput shotgun” that allowed reconstructing the first genome sequences of the 2022 ‘version’ of the ‘Monkeypox’ virus.

Researchers found that the 2022 virus differs from related 2018 and 2019 viruses in 50 SNP mutations, which are changes that occur in a single nucleotide of the genome. This is approximately 6 to 12 times more” than would be expected based on previous estimates. of the substitution rate of the ‘orthopoxviruses'”.

“Such a divergent branching could represent an accelerated evolution“, affirm the researchers, specifying that, however, it is necessary to carry out more studies in this regard.

“Bearing in Note that this 2022 monkeypox virus is probably a descendant of the one from the Nigeria outbreak of As of 2017, one would expect no more than five to 10 additional mutations instead of the roughly 50 mutations observed.We hope that specialized groups will now conduct laboratory experiments to understand whether this 2022 virus has increased its transmissibility“, commented to Newsweek Joao Paulo Gomes, one of the authors of the study and head of the Genomics and Bioinformatics Unit of the National Institute of Health of Portugal.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, until 23 As of June, 3,504 cases of monkeypox had been registered in 44 countries, the United Kingdom being the country with the highest number of cases (793).


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