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Mutagenic drugs like molnupiravir could make viruses more dangerous

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

Health


26 Aug 2022

Several mutagenic drugs are in use for the treatment of viruses.

mega flop/Shutterstock

The use of antiviral drugs that kill viruses by inducing many mutations should be restricted because of potential dangers highlighted by new research, some researchers say. Computer modeling suggests these drugs could cause viruses to take on changes they might not otherwise have, and in a way that lab tests might not detect.

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

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