Monkeypox: Portugal is the first country to sequence the genome of the virus
The discovery could be key to understanding the origin of the outbreak and the causes of the disease’s rapid spread.
Portugal was the first country to sequence the genetics of the virus that causes monkeypox, a disease that has already infected 37 confirmed cases. The discovery was announced on Monday, May 23, and is key to helping understand the disease causing outbreaks around the world.
A team of researchers from the National Institute of Saúde Doutor Ricardo Jorge (INSA) “was the first to determine the genetic sequence of the monkeypox virus”, which is circulating in many countries.
“A few days after confirming the first human cases of monkeypox virus in Portugal, specialists from INSA Genomics and Bioinformatics Nucleus have identified the genetic sequence of this virus and shared it with the international scientific community, which may contribute to a more rapid and effective understanding of this phenomenon,” says the institute in statment.
According to INSA, the genetic sequence of the virus, which is endemic to West and Central Africa, “may be key to understanding the origin of the outbreak and the causes of the disease’s rapid spread,” which is rare.
“Comparison of the genetic sequences of monkeypox virus obtained in different countries can be fundamental to understanding the origin of the outbreak, as well as the way in which the disease is rapidly spreading,” stresses João Paulo Gomes, Director of the INSA Core.
The researcher concluded that “a good characterization of this type of outbreak allows us to learn lessons that can be useful for us to adopt public health measures in order to better monitor and control the problem.”
Currently, Portugal has 37 confirmed cases, and the numbers are increasing in the rest of the world. In Spain, there are already at least 30 cases confirmed by PCR testing, all in Madrid and linked to a sauna in the city that has since been closed.
The virus has also reached Switzerland, France, Germany and Italy, which in recent days have reported the first cases of monkeypox. In the United States, Israel, and Australia, monkeypox patients have also been identified.
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