The monkeypox virus, which was detected outside of Africa in May, continues to spread. At the moment
Monkeypox is a large double-stranded DNA virus.Such structures, scientists note, unlike RNA viruses (for example, HIV) are better protected from replication errors, and therefore change rather slowly: accumulating one or two mutations per year.
In their work, biologists collected DNA from 15 samplesmonkeypox virus and reconstructed their genetic information. The researchers found that the actual mutation rate was 6 to 12 times higher than they expected. The authors of the paper note that the massive jump in the rate of mutation of the simian virus significantly exceeds expectations and estimates based on the analysis of previous outbreaks of the disease.
Most of the mutations found originated inthe result of interaction with the human immune system, the researchers note. For example, they found traces of the virus interacting with a family of virus-fighting enzymes called APOBEC3. These enzymes attack viruses by causing errors in DNA replication. As a rule, such exposure destroys the virus, but sometimes it acquires new mutations instead.
Biologists believe that the acceleration of mutation may be due to the fact that the virus has been circulating among people since 2018 in small quantities, receiving many new changes under the influence of enzymes.
Despite active distribution, WHO has not yetconsiders the outbreak to be a public health emergency of international concern. The organization will continue to monitor the situation and may change its assessment in the near future.
Hi-Tech told more about the outbreak of monkeypox earlier.
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