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Health ALERT! Monkeypox evolving, mutating at a rapid pace; 50 genetic variations found with new strain: Study

Although it’s possible that the virus could evolve with several mutations each year, experts don’t expect that the mutations will emerge very frequently.

An image created during an investigation into an outbreak of monkeypox, which took place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), 1996 to 1997, shows the hands of a patient with a rash due to monkeypox, in this undated image obtained by Reuters on May 18, 2022. CDC/Brian W.J. Mahy/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.

The World Health Organization might not have declared monkeypox an emergency yet but health experts around the world are vigilantes. A study has now revealed that the virus is continuing to evolve with small alterations in its genetic code, minor gene variants, and a deleted gene.

What researchers found about new strains developing in virus causing Monkeypox

According to Portuguese researchers, the monkeypox virus is constantly evolving and is mutating at a rate that’s more than what was expected. According to Bloomberg, the new strain has around 50 genetic variations and is mutating faster than other related viruses in circulation in 2018-19. The study has been published in Nature Medicine on Friday.

One of the study’s authors noted that it was surprising to see the number of genetic variations in the new strain. Although it’s possible that the virus could evolve with several mutations each year, experts don’t expect that the mutations will emerge very frequently.

How is WHO reacting to Moneypox spread

The WHO convened an expert committee on Thursday to discuss the possibility of declaring an international health emergency due to the outbreak. On June 22, World Health Network (WHN) announced that the monkeypox outbreak had become a pandemic but it is comparatively more stable and motivates slowly that the coronavirus that causes Covid-19.

Since monkeypox doesn’t usually spread easily from one person to another, it’s not clear how the mutations in the current strain might affect the virus’ attributes. More research is needed to understand how these changes might cause the disease.

Origin of Monkeypox and spread to western countries

The origin of smallpox and monkeypox can be traced back to the same family of viruses known as the Orthopoxvirus. Although the disease was first discovered in Africa, it has now been identified in various Western countries. The primary symptoms are fever, rash, and swollen lymph nodes. It can also lead to various medical complications. Although it’s a self-limited disease, it can sometimes cause severe illness. Most of the current cases are men who have sex with men.

Due to the evolution of the virus, authorities in various countries have been carrying out various measures to control the spread of the disease. They’ve also been increasing the number of people who are vaccinated against the disease.

How U.S and UK are taking measures to curb the spread

Officials in the UK reported that the monkeypox outbreak had started to affect the country’s gay and bisexual communities. They urged individuals who have recently gotten engaged or have multiple sex partners to avoid spreading the disease.

Moreover, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that monkeypox cases had been reported in people who traveled to other countries. Although the majority of these cases were men, women were also getting infected. The agency is also planning on developing a protocol that would allow the use of the Jynneos vaccine in children. Currently, the Jynneos vaccine is only available for use in adults. It’s considered safer than the ACAM2000 smallpox vaccine made by Emergent BioSolutions.

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