Author(s): Shchelkunov SN, Totmenin AV, Babkin IV, Safronov PF, Ryazankina OI,
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Abstract Monkeypox virus (MPV) causes a human disease which resembles smallpox but with a lower person-to-person transmission rate. To determine the genetic relationship between the orthopoxviruses causing these two diseases, we sequenced the 197-kb genome of MPV isolated from a patient during a large human monkeypox outbreak in Zaire in 1996. The nucleotide sequence within the central region of the MPV genome, which encodes essential enzymes and structural proteins, was 96.3\% identical with that of variola (smallpox) virus (VAR). In contrast, there were considerable differences between MPV and VAR in the regions encoding virulence and host-range factors near the ends of the genome. Our data indicate that MPV is not the direct ancestor of VAR and is unlikely to naturally acquire all properties of VAR.
This article was published in FEBS Lett
and referenced in Journal of Bioterrorism & Biodefense