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Monkeypox Virus Mutating More Than Expected, Say Scientists

Digitally-colorized electron microscopic image depicting a monkeypox virion.

Digitally-colorized electron microscopic image depicting a monkeypox virion.

Photographer: Smith Collection/Gado/Archive Photos

The monkeypox virus may be mutating more than expected, according to researchers in Portugal, as cases rise across the UK and the US.

Scientists said the latest strain of monkeypox, once previously confined to parts of Africa, has about 50 genetic variations compared to related viruses that circulated in 2018-2019. They found the virus is continuing to evolve during the current outbreak, including a number of small changes in the genetic code, minor gene variants and a deleted gene, according to a study published in Nature Medicine on Friday.