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Smallpox monkeys, from Portugal first genome sequence – Medicine

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Smallpox monkeys, from Portugal first genome sequence – Medicine

The first monkeypox sequence has arrived: released online, it was obtained in Portugal by a research group of the Bioinformatics Unit, Department of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Health Doutor Ricardo Jorge (INSA), in Lisbon.

The virus that is worrying several countries around the world looks very similar to the one that caused cases in various countries including Great Britain, Singapore and Israel in 2018-19. In 2018, there were three cases in the UK after a person returning from Nigeria infected two other family members.

João Paulo Gomes’ team from the National Institute of Health in Portugal sequenced the virus genome from a sample taken from a male patient on May 4. Teams from other countries are also sequencing viral samples, but Gomes’s is the first to make a sequence public (online at https://virological.org/t/first-draft-genome-sequence-of-monkeyp ox-virus- associated-with-the-suspected-multi-country-outbreak-ma y-2022-confirmed-case-in-portugal / 799).

With the sequencing of other samples (currently in progress in several laboratories around the world, for example in Belgium), it should become clear whether, as suspected, a single variant of monkeypox is responsible for all cases of the current epidemic. But determining if this variant has something unique will not be easy. Even with the now very well studied SARS-CoV-2 virus, it is difficult to link particular mutations to changes in viral transmissibility and other characteristics of the virus.

The monkeypox virus is much larger – around 200,000 letters of DNA compared to the 30,000 letters of RNA of the coronavirus. “Further sequencing and analysis are underway,” said Vitor Borges, a member of the Portuguese team in a tweet.

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