The number of cases of monkeypox has exceeded 5,800 globally. A study in Portugal revealed unknowns about the virus. Accordingly, the rate of spread of the virus is unusual. It is also stated that the monkeypox virus mutates at least 50 times in 4 years.
According to a study conducted by Portuguese researchers and published in the scientific journal Nature Medicine; The monkeypox virus, which has spread in the US, Europe and the UK, is mutating surprisingly fast. It is stated that the study is the most comprehensive research on the genetic structure of the virus.
As part of the study, the researchers took samples from 15 monkeypox patients and compared the genomes of the virus that infected them. Experts found that each of the patients had a strain of monkeypox that can be traced back to a previous outbreak of the virus that originated in Nigeria in 2018-2019 in the UK, Israel and Singapore.
But tests have shown that the monkeypox virus has mutated 50 times since the 2018 outbreak. This number is 12 times more than experts expected.
“These data completely challenges what is known about the monkeypox mutation rate. There are a few things we know about monkeypox, and this new genome sequencing has helped researchers better understand the current epidemic,” said study author Joao Paulo Gomes, from Portugal’s National Institute of Health.
Gomes noted that the strain of the virus in the current outbreak is mutating at an unusually fast rate. At the same time, it was announced that the epidemic probably spread by infecting others with a large super emitter.
On the other hand, the authors of the study noted that the type of monkeypox virus responsible for the current cases is part of the West African monkeypox strain commonly reported in West Cameroon and Sierra Leone, which carries a mortality rate of less than 1 percent.
Another common species of monkeypox, known as the “Central African” species, has a mortality rate of 10 percent in the Congo basin.
Incubation MAKES DISEASE DIFFICULT TO FOLLOW
On the other hand, scientists said that the incubation period, which varies between 5 and 21 days, makes it difficult to trace the virus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defined a person who traveled to the US from Nigeria in early May as the “first case” (first confirmed case). However, researchers in Portugal disagreed, noting that there were confirmed cases in Portugal and the UK in late April.