Posted BY: Reuters
The World Health Organization does not have evidence that the monkeypox virus has mutated, a senior executive at the U.N. agency said on Monday, noting the infectious disease that has been endemic in west and central Africa has tended not to change.
Rosamund Lewis, head of the smallpox secretariat that is part of the WHO Emergencies Programme, told a briefing that mutations tended to be typically lower with this virus, although genome sequencing of cases will help inform understanding of the current outbreak.
Health experts watch for concerning mutations that could make a virus more easily transmissible or severe.
Over 100 suspected and confirmed cases in a recent outbreak in Europe and North America have not been severe, said Maria van Kerkhove, the WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonoses lead and technical lead on COVID-19.
“This is a containable situation,” particularly in Europe, she said. “But we can’t take our eye off the ball with what’s happening in Africa, in countries where it’s endemic.”