MIL-OSI United Kingdom: expert reaction to study on genomics and evolution of the monkeypox virus

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Source: United Kingdom – Executive Government & Departments

A study published in Nature Medicine looks at the genomics and evolution of the monkeypox virus in the 2022 multi-country outbreak.

Dr Hugh Adler, Department of Clinical Sciences, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, said:

“This report supports the prevailing hypothesis about the current outbreak: a single imported case, amplified through one or more super-spreader events. The authors describe an unexpectedly high number of mutations in the virus, but their implications for disease severity or transmissibility are unclear. We have not identified any change in the severity of clinical disease in patients diagnosed in the current outbreak. 

“These findings also underline many gaps in our knowledge about the underlying genetics of monkeypox virus and the role of different genes in transmission and disease, even though this virus was first identified in humans half a century ago.  We are seeing fascinating insights into the biology of monkeypox now that it has caused an outbreak in high income countries – but as ever, if the global community had applied these same scientific resources to monkeypox outbreaks in Africa, we might already have a stronger knowledge base.”

‘Phylogenomic characterization and signs of microevolution in the 2022 multi-country outbreak of monkeypox virus’ by Joana Isidro et al. was published in Nature Medicine at 10:00am UK time on Friday 24 June.

DOI: doi.org/10.1038/s41591-022-01907-y

Declared interests

Dr Hugh Adler: “No conflicts of interest and not involved in the research being discussed.”

MIL OSI United Kingdom