Check this one off as a conspiracy theory that came true.
Molnupiravir was one of the first antiviral medications on the market to treat COVID-19 and was used by many countries, including the United States.
The wide use of the drug against COVID-19 has caused an “unintended pattern of mutations in the SAR_CoV-2 virus.”
An international team of researchers that studied 15 million COVID-19 sequences mapped out how the virus mutated over time.
The analysis found very different patterns of change in those who took the antiviral medication.
The team found that the changes caused by molnupiravir are causing “enduring mutations.”
According to the researches the medication hasn’t produced a more serious mutation of the virus but it has caused several different mutations.
“People have some concerns about molnupiravir and to some sense this makes those more concrete,” said Dr Theo Sanderson, the lead author on the study and a postdoctoral researcher at the Francis Crick Institute in London. “We know these viruses can still be alive following a significant number of mutations and they can still be transmissible in some cases.”
From the Guardian:
Writing in the journal Nature, the scientists describe numerous strands of evidence that suggest molnupiravir can occasionally produce highly mutated but viable forms of the Covid virus. The first sign emerged when the researchers scoured global databases that containing more than 15m Covid genomes. The scientists found hallmark mutations in viruses from 2022, after molnupiravir was introduced. When the drug mutates the virus’s RNA, it increases the proportion of specific mutations at certain regions of the genetic code.
Sanderson said, “COVID-19 is still having a major effect on human health, and some people have difficulty clearing the virus, so it’s important we develop drugs which aim to cut short the length of infection.
“But our evidence shows that a specific antiviral drug — molnupiravir — also results in new mutations, increasing the genetic diversity in the surviving viral population.”
Adding: “Our findings are useful for ongoing assessment of the risks and benefits of molnupiravir treatment. The possibility of persistent antiviral-induced mutations needs to be taken into account for the development of new drugs which work in a similar way.”