MPOX VIRUS (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     22nd April 2024        

Context: In a recent study, scientists recently reported that a section of the mpox genome, believed to be ‘less important,’ is responsible for giving the virus a peculiar evolutionary ability.

Mpox Virus

  • About: It is an infectious disease caused by the monkeypox virus. 
  • Origin: Mpox, previously known as monkeypox, originated from a spillover event in a research facility involving monkeys in 1958.
  • Sporadic Outbreaks: Mpox has been identified in sporadic outbreaks among humans since the initial event in 1958.
  • Genetic Adaptations: Mpox lineages have been circulating in humans, evolving through mutations modulated by APOBEC proteins.
  • Global Outbreak: The global outbreak of mpox in 2022-2023 affected over 118 countries, prompting the WHO to declare it a public health emergency.
  • Causes: It is  a painful rash, enlarged lymph nodes and fever. Most people fully recover, but some get very sick.
  • Transmission: Person-to-person transmission of mpox can occur through direct contact with infectious skin or other lesions such as in the mouth or on genitals.
  • Symptoms: It usually begin within a week but can start 1–21 days after exposure. Symptoms typically last 2–4 weeks but may last longer in someone with a weakened immune system.
  • Treatment: Getting an mpox vaccine can help prevent infection.

Mpox Genome

  • About: It comprises approximately 197 kilobases, with core genes conserved across poxviruses and additional sections of unknown function.
  • Functional Mysteries: Two sections of the mpox genome, approximately 6.4 kb each, have unclear functions but are suspected to influence host infectivity.
  • Evolutionary Patterns: Mpox genomes contain repetitive base sequences believed to contribute to the virus's evolutionary dynamics.
  • Evolutionary Pressures: Mpox viruses can evade selective pressures by gene duplication, mutation accumulation, genome expansion, or contraction, known as genomic accordions.