Mutation behind monkeypox spread? WHO’s reply; Roman numerals in clades' names

Published on Aug 18, 2022 06:40 AM IST

Monkeypox global spread: More than 90 countries and territories have seen cases this year so far, the WHO said.

FILE - A sign for monkeypox vaccinations is shown at a vaccination site.(AP)
FILE - A sign for monkeypox vaccinations is shown at a vaccination site.(AP)
By | Edited by Swati Bhasin, New Delhi

The world saw 7,500 new monkeypox cases last week, a 20 per cent surge compared to the previous week, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday, giving the latest updates on the virus that has triggered concern globally. Most of these cases have been reported from Europe and the Americas “and almost all cases continue to be reported among men who have sex with men,” the head of the World Health Organization highlighted. With the latest spike, the global monkeypox tally has passed the 35,000-mark and 12 deaths have so far been reported; the virus has spread to 92 countries and territories.

Monkeypox is the second virus to gain wide focus after Covid. The rapid mutation of coronavirus has been a matter of concern during the course of the pandemic.

Is mutation of the monkeypox virus also linked to the spread? The world health body has told news agency AFP that studies are underway to know more.

"However, nothing is known about the significance of these genetic changes, and research is ongoing to establish the effects (if any) of these mutations on transmission and disease severity,” the WHO was quoted as saying. "It is still early on in both the outbreak and laboratory studies to tell if the rise in infections could be driven by the observed genotypic changes in the virus, or are due to host (human) factors."

The supplies of vaccines and the data is also limited for now.

Meanwhile, in a bid to address the likely discrimination, the WHO “has agreed to rename the two known clades of monkeypox virus using Roman numerals,” a statement on Wednesday said.

“The clade formerly known as the Congo Basin or Central African clade will now be referred to as clade I, while the West African clade will be called clade II,” Dr Tedros informed.

(With inputs from AFP)

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