Monkeypox mutated 12 times faster than expected

A study conducted in the UK revealed that the virus that causes monkeypox mutates 12 times faster than previously thought and that by the end of this year in the UK up to 60,000 cases per day could be registered.

The study was published in the journal Nature Medicine and in it, Portuguese researchers found that the virus had 50 mutations in its DNA compared to 2018. This translates to between 6 and 12 times the number of mutations scientists expected for that period.

The study was carried out by scientist and mathematician Adam Kleczkowski of Strathclyde University. He said that “unless the combination of contact tracing and ring vaccination stops the spread, monkeypox will continue to spread.”

In estimates, he said that every infected person would have the ability to infect two more and that at least 53 percent of the population must be infected to stop the disease through herd immunity.

Based on these parameters, he modeled how the outbreak would develop if all men aged 50 and under were susceptible to the virus. This equates to 40 per cent of the UK population (approximately 26.8 million people) and is classified as a “large population at risk”.

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In another scenario, cases will drop sharply this summer as the “at risk” group becomes immune to the virus.

The UK has revealed that a smallpox vaccine which has shown success against monkeypox will be offered more widely to stop the spread.

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Stuart Martin

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