Report reveals smallpox DNA sequence hints circulating since 2017

Aine O’Toole and team at the University of Edinburgh in the UK wrote in a report: “We therefore suggest that the pattern we see … means that there has been person-to-person transmission. people continuously since at least 2017”.

“The sudden emergence of monkeypox in many countries at once suggests that there may have been undetected transmission for some time,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.


Furthermore, the UK team sequenced the genome of the monkeypox virus and found that the virus causing the new cases is closely related to those previously identified. detected in a small number of cases in Israel, Nigeria, Singapore and the UK between 2017 and 2019, New Scientist reported.

There were 47 DNA character changes in the latest viruses compared to previous cases. That’s an unexpectedly high number because monkeypox is thought to progress slowly, about one mutation per year.

Transmission of smallpox virus in monkeys

About 42 of these 47 changes involved the DNA letters TT converting to TA, or GA to AA. There is a group of human enzymes called APOBEC3 that help protect against viruses by creating mutations in their DNA, and these are the types of changes they make, the report said.

“If these APOBEC3 edits are specifically indicative of human replication rather than another host species, this would confirm this entire subspecies as representative of the emergence of a human epidemic.” in 2017,” O’Toole stated in a recent update to their report.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that three out of 10 monkeypox viruses identified in the US also showed some difference, while still being related to the 2017 virus.

Three cases were found in people who had traveled to different countries in Africa and the Middle East in 2021 or 2022.

The infection is likely due to independent instances of the virus jumping from some animal reservoir to humans. But because they were found to have so many APOBEC3-like mutations, it’s safe to say monkeypox has been fairly widespread among people in Africa since 2017, the report said.

However, the researchers were surprised to discover that existing viruses may be less suitable than the 2017 type, because they are accumulating so many mutations that can be detrimental.

“The mutations that we see in viruses today are certainly not the ones that kill the virus or we won’t see them, the virus will die. But there may still be some that are still living. pull it down a bit, that’s adding Emma Hodcroft from the University of Bern, Switzerland, is quoted as saying.

While this reassures us, we shouldn’t assume that monkeypox wouldn’t have progressed to better infect humans if we gave it the opportunity to do so, she said.

And while cases of monkeypox may be mild so far, this may not be true if the monkeypox virus begins to infect children or immunocompromised people, Hodcroft said.

Source: IANS

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