Mutagenic drugs such as molnupiravir could make viruses more dangerous


Several antiviral drugs kill viruses by inducing lots of mutations, but a computer model suggests this could have unpredictable consequences


26 August 2022

Packets of drugs in woman's hands

Several mutagenic drugs are in use for treating virusese


The use of antiviral drugs that kill viruses by inducing lots of mutations should be restricted because of potential dangers highlighted by new research, some researchers say. Computer modelling suggests these drugs could result in viruses acquiring changes they wouldn’t otherwise and in a way that lab testing will miss.

All organisms continually mutate and most of these mutations are detrimental. Harmful mutations are normally eliminated from populations by natural selection, but if mutation rates are high enough, natural selection cannot …

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