The research is underway to determine if genetic changes in the monkeypox virus may be responsible for the rapid spreading of the disease according to the World Health Organization told AFP on Wednesday.
Geneva, Switzerland: Studies are in progress to find out whether genetic changes to the monkeypox virus have led to the rapid expansion of the disease, according to the World Health Organization told AFP on Wednesday.
The two distinct clades or variants of the virus were referred to as the Congo Basin (Central African) and West African clades, after the two regions in which they are both known to be endemic.
On Friday this week, the WHO changed the names of the groups to Clade I and Clade II in order to avoid the threat of geographic stigmatisation.
The announcement also stated it was revealed that Clade II had two sub-clades IIa and IIb with the latter having viruses recognized as the cause of current outbreak in the world.
On Wednesday this week, it was announced that the UN health agency announced the fact that Clades IIa and IIb are closely related and share a common ancestor, which is why IIb cannot be considered to be an offshoot from IIa.
“Looking at the genome it is apparent that there are some genetic differences between the viruses in the current outbreak and older Clade IIb virus,” the WHO said to AFP.
“It is early with regards to both outbreaks as well as research studies in the lab to determine whether the increase in infections is due to the genotypic changes that have been observed within the virus, or due to hosts (human) elements.”
An increase in the number of monkeypox cases was reported in the early part of May, outside of the endemic African countries.
The WHO declared the crisis an international health emergency for the public on the 23rd of July.
More than 35,000 instances in the 92 nations, including 12 deaths have been reported to WHO.
The majority of new cases are discovered mostly from Europe or the Americas.
Experts have studied the results of these cases.
“The variation between the virus that cause this outbreak has been very minimal and there are no apparent genetic difference between virus strains from non-endemic countries,” the WHO said.
The WHO announced that the effort to change the name of monkeypox could take “a several months”.
The organization has expressed concern over the name, and experts concerned that the name could be false.
Monkeypox was named after it was first identified in monkeys that were kept as research animals in Denmark in the year 1958.
However, the illness is most often found in rodents.
The WHO has asked for assistance from the public when coming up with a brand new name. The WHO has an official website on which anybody can offer suggestions.
“We will inform the public before the close of the year,” the WHO said.