Compared to related viruses from 2018 and 2019, the current monkeypox virus shows about 50 mutations. That is about six to 12 times more than expected, which could indicate an accelerated evolution. “Our data reveal additional clues to current viral evolution and possible adaptation to humans,” said the study conducted by the Instituto Nacional de Saúde Dr. Ricardo Jorge (INSA) from Lisbon.
Virus adapts quickly
The researchers suspect that human enzymes are partly responsible for the current mutations. However, they found no evidence to suggest that the mutations could explain the current outbreak. Until now, experts had assumed a rather slow evolution of the virus compared to, for example, the corona virus.
Worldwide, nearly 5,000 cases of monkey pox have been diagnosed. The virus has already been detected in forty countries where the virus was virtually non-existent until May. According to the US health authority CDC, 3,308 cases have been recorded. According to WHO figures, there are another 1,600 infections in eight African countries that have had such outbreaks for years.