Digital Desk, London. There is currently an outbreak of the monkeypox virus in 27 countries and more than 780 laboratories have confirmed cases. Scientists have analyzed its DNA and expressed the suspicion that this virus may have started spreading outside Africa from 2017. The virus is considered to be endemic in western and central Africa. For the first time, its outbreak is being seen spreading outside Africa.
Ann O’Toole and team at the University of Edinburgh, UK, wrote in a report, “The pattern we are seeing suggests that this virus has been passing from human to human since at least 2017”. It has also been ensured that the monkeypox virus can spread uncontrollably. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement, “The sudden appearance of monkeypox in several countries at the same time suggests that it can spread unaccountably in a short time.”
In addition, the team of UK scientists performed genome sequencing of the monkeypox virus, which found that the virus responsible for the new cases spread to Israel, Nigeria, Singapore and the UK between 2017 and 2019. The new one has 47 DNA-letter changes compared to these earlier cases. This is an unexpectedly large number, given that monkeypox is believed to develop slowly and have about one mutation per year.
Of these 47 changes, approximately 42 involve the change of the DNA letter TT to TA or GA to AA. The report states that there is a group of human enzymes called APOBEC3 that help defend against the virus by inducing mutations in its DNA. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that three of the 10 monkeypox viruses sequenced in the US showed some difference, while some viruses are still related to 2017.
Three cases were found in people who had traveled to different countries in Africa and the Middle East in 2021 or 2022. This virus reaches the body of people from some animals. It can be said that it has been spreading quite widely in Africa since 2017. However, researchers were surprised to find that existing viruses are mutating at a much faster rate than in 2017 that are potentially harmful.
Emma Hodcroft of the University of Bern in Switzerland was quoted as saying, “The mutations we see in viruses today suggest that they are certainly not the ones that kill other viruses.” These are of different types. Hodcroft said, so far, cases of monkeypox have been mild. If the monkeypox virus starts infecting children or the elderly, it can be difficult to control.
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