Is the antiviral drug Molnupiravir causing mutations in the genetic information of the Covid virus? , lifestyle health


London: A team of scientists has found a link between molnupiravir, an antiviral drug for COVID-19 infection, and a pattern of mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Molnupiravir works by causing mutations in the genetic information or genome of the virus during replication.

Many of these mutations will damage or kill the virus, thereby reducing the viral load in the body.

It was one of the first antivirals available in the market during the Covid pandemic and was widely adopted by many countries.

Lead author and postdoctoral researcher Theo Sanderson said, “COVID-19 is still having a major impact on human health, and some people are having difficulty getting rid of the virus, so it is important that we develop medicines that can The goal should be to reduce the duration of infection.” Francis Crick Institute in the UK.

“But our evidence shows that a specific antiviral drug, molnupiravir, also results in new mutations that increase genetic diversity in surviving viral populations. Our findings are useful for ongoing evaluation of the risks and benefits of molnupiravir treatment.” “

The possibility of persistent antiviral-induced mutations must be taken into account in the development of new drugs that work in a similar manner.

“In research published in the journal Nature, scientists used a global sequencing database to map mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 virus over time.

They analyzed a family tree of 15 million SARS-CoV-2 sequences to see which mutations had occurred at each point in the evolutionary history of each virus.

Although viruses mutate all the time, researchers identified mutational events in global sequencing databases that looked very different from the typical pattern of COVID-19 mutations, and they were strongly linked to individuals who took molnupiravir. Had taken.

With the introduction of molnupiravir, these mutations increased in 2022. These were more likely to be seen in older age groups, consistent with the use of antivirals to treat people at higher risk, and in countries where there is high use of molnupiravir.

In England, researchers analyzed treatment data and found that at least 30 percent of the events involved the use of molnupiravir.

The causes of mutational events can be detected by looking at their “mutation signature” – a preference for mutations occurring at particular sequences in the genome.

The researchers found a close match between the signature seen in these mutational events and the signature in clinical trials of molnupiravir.

The researchers also observed small clusters of mutations that suggest onward transmission from person to person, although no established variants of concern are currently associated with this signature.

It is difficult to understand the impact of molnupiravir treatment on the risks of new variants and any impact they may have on public health.

It is also important to consider that chronic COVID-19 infection, for which molnupiravir is used, may itself be the result of new mutations.

Christopher Ruis of the Department of Medicine said, “Molnupiravir is one of several drugs being used to fight COVID-19. It belongs to a class of drugs that can cause the virus to mutate so that it becomes fatally weakened.” University of Cambridge in the UK.

“But we have found that in some patients, this process does not kill all the virus, and some mutated viruses may spread. It is important to keep this in mind when assessing the overall benefits and risks of molnupiravir and similar drugs.” ” He said.

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