A strain of monkeypox detected in India is not linked to an epidemic in Europe | Latest India News

Genome sequencing reports from two monkeypox patients in Kerala suggest they were infected with the A.2 strain of the virus, different from the one causing monkeypox outbreaks in Europe, an analysis by scientists from the CSIR Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB).

This A.2 strain, which has been found widely in the United States and Thailand, has not been linked to major clustering or superspreading events, unlike B.1, which has been found in many large parts of Europe.

To be sure, there is no evidence yet to suggest that either strain might be more infectious or virulent.

Vinod Scaria, genome sequencing scientist at IGIB, said the genome sequencing data of two monkeypox patients from Kerala belong to version A.2 of the monkeypox virus, unlike the majority of genomes across the world who belong to the B.1 lineage.

Of the four confirmed cases of monkeypox in India, these are the only two samples that have been sequenced so far, officials confirmed.

“Genomic sequences have been deposited for two samples (EPI_ISL_13953610 and EPI_ISL_13953611) as well as two genomes re-sequenced from isolates of one of the samples. Both isolates were from the first reported cases in Kerala and both cases have a travel history,” Scaria said.

Scaria said that globally only a few cases belong to the A.2 strain and that these cases, including those from India, all appear to have travel links to the Middle East or East Africa. West.

“The first sample of the cluster from the United States is indeed from 2021, which suggests that the virus has been in circulation for some time, and earlier than European events,” he added.

Samples from monkeypox patients were collected by the National Institute of Virology, Pune, and the genetic sequences of the monkeypox virus were uploaded to a public database for researchers, GISAID, a global communication initiative in time real for disease prevention.

Dr. Priya Abraham, Director of ICMR-National Institute of Virology, Pune, explained that all viruses over time undergo slow evolution and as they evolve they form into different evolutionary branches. This is not cause for panic or alarm, she said.

“There are two outbreaks of monkeypox occurring simultaneously, but it is too early to provide details on clade A.2 and B.1 and say for sure if one is more transmissible than the other. The sequence that we submitted from Kerala falls in clade A.2 Out of thousands of monkeypox infections worldwide, only five deaths have been reported, and there is no scientific evidence to link these deaths to any particular variant However, studying samples and inferring the behavior of mutations will take some time,” said Dr. Pragya Yadav, Senior Scientist at NIV Pune.

Discovered in 1958 in monkeys at the Statens Serum Institute in Denmark, monkeypox is a zoonotic virus that can infect humans as well as other animals, including rodents and primates. Currently, there are more than 20,000 confirmed cases of monkeypox in nearly 75 countries, with common symptoms including fever, headache, muscle aches and lethargy, as well as rashes and blisters on the face, palms or the soles of the feet, mouth, eyes or genitals.

Dr. Ekta Gupta, professor of clinical virology at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS), said there is no literature to suggest that the B.1 strain is more transmissible than A.2, but based on the number of epidemic cases in Europe. , which mainly had the B.1 strain, it is speculated that this virus may be more transmissible.

“There is no evidence that B.1 is more transmissible, but it has spread more and resulted in more cases compared to A.2, which has been found in the United States since 2021 but has not resulted in no major clusters,” Dr. Gupta said. .

But the prevalence of one mutant over the other could also be the result of what is known as a founder effect – in other words, B.1 may have become more common simply because infected people have continued to infect more people.


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    Soumya Pillai covers the environment and traffic in Delhi. A journalist for three years, she grew up in and with Delhi, which is often reflected in her reporting on life in the city. She also enjoys writing about social innovations.
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