Studies Show Monkeypox Could Mutate If Antiviral Drug Is Overused

If an antiviral drug used to combat monkeypox is overused, the virus could mutate.

Right now, the antiviral drug known as tecovirimat, or Tpoxx, is being used to treat patients who may be more susceptible to contracting monkeypox. And according to guidance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the virus is one mutation away from being resistant to the drug.

This news comes after lab and animal case studies and evidence from a human case study of the monkeypox family of viruses, CBS News reports. Findings showed monkeypox has “several generic pathways” to evolve and eventually evade treatment from tecovirimat. The FDA highlights the virus only needs a “single amino acid change.”

It also comes after a “rare” mutation of monkeypox was reported in California, CBS News reports.

Over the weekend, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Dr. Sapna Bamrah Morris addressed the studies’ findings and monkeypox treatments for patients.

“Most patients with intact immune systems really need supportive care and pain control, but often do not need to be stepped up to antiviral treatment,” said Morris.

She added: “We do know that there’s a point mutation that could lead to resistance to tecovirimat or Tpoxx, which is our primary antiviral being used.”

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