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Monkeypox virus to show possible mutations due to overuse of antiviral drugsYash Ranjan09/16/202214
The US has issued a warning against the monkeypox virus which suggests that the over usage of antiviral drugs may cause mutations into the monkeypox virus, making it immune to the available antiviral treatments. According to the FDA, the monkeypox virus is on the verge of mutating to make it immune to the currently being used antiviral drugs. To prevent this mutation, FDA is urging physicians to prescribe such medications in a controlled manner, preferring only the emergencies. Currently, the preferred treatment for monkeypox is tecovirimat, which is an antiviral drug that is used against various orthopoxviruses that includes smallpox, monkeypox, and others. Tecovirimat has a commonly known brand name Tpoxx. Currently, it is the preferred drug for people suffering from monkeypox. As per the notification by the FDA, monkeypox has shown several genetic pathways which it could follow to target the cells. Many of such pathways need changing only one amino acid in the gene sequence. This suggests that the monkeypox virus is very close to being mutated. The current mechanism of action of tecovirimat involves the inhibition of a special protein called p37. In orthopoxviruses, p37 is responsible for the structural formation of monkeypox. If the monkeypox virus starts mutating, it will find a new way to form its structure rather than using the p37 protein. Currently, the US has around 23,117 total confirmed cases of monkeypox. Out of these cases, California, New York, and Florida have the highest number of cases, totaling over 10,000 cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been keeping a close eye on the current state of monkeypox in the country and the world. According to the CDC, there are around 60,799 total cases in the world. Almost all the reported cases are in locations where there was no historical record of monkeypox infection. The historical evidence for monkeypox has only been seen in certain countries in Africa. There have been a total of 20 deaths globally due to monkeypox. Out of this, around 10 deaths are reported in the African region. The US reported the first death due to monkeypox, which occurred on September 13 in California. Amid all this, CDC has announced that there has been a decline in the number of cases being reported. Rochelle Walensky, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stated on Sep 15, 2022, that the country has witnessed a decline in the number of monkeypox cases being reported. She also added that CDC is taking into account the racial and ethnic differences during vaccine distribution. Currently, the US has approved the JYNNEOS vaccine as the preferred vaccine for monkeypox and smallpox. Bavarian Nordic, a Denmark-based pharmaceutical company, is the manufacturer of the JYNNEOS vaccine. The vaccination program for monkeypox involves two doses of the JYNNEOS vaccine, given with a separation of 28 days. It requires 14 days for getting the full effects of the vaccine. CDC has suggested that getting both doses of vaccine is necessary for getting maximum protection against monkeypox. CDC has also approved the ACAM2000 Vaccine by Emergent Product Development Gaithersburg as the alternate vaccine for monkeypox.