American researchers at Boston University have developed a new lethal Covid strain in a laboratory that has an 80% kill rate – what could possibly go wrong?
The mutant variant — which is a hybrid of Omicron and the original Wuhan virus — killed 80 per cent of mice infected with it. When a similar group of mice were exposed to the standard Omicron strain, they all survived and only experienced ‘mild’ symptoms.
Indeed, the scientists also infected human cells with this hybrid variant and found it was five times more infectious than Omicron.
In the new research, a team of scientists from Boston and Florida extracted Omicron’s spike protein and attached it to the original strain that first emerged in Wuhan at the start of the pandemic. Writing in the paper, they said:
‘In mice, while Omicron causes mild, non-fatal infection, the Omicron S-carrying virus inflicts severe disease with a mortality rate of 80 percent.’
The scientists looked at the the effects of different strains on human lung cells that were grown in the lab. They found the hybrid strain produced five times more viral particles than the original Omicron. The good news is that, despite the lab results on the rats, the scientists insist this hybrid virus would be ‘unlikely’ to be as deadly in humans as it was in mice because the variation in genes and DNA between us is just too great. Guess we’re going to have to take their word on that one.
Even still, there’s some alarm and criticism over whether these sorts of experiments need to be taking place, much less funded by the government. Sure there is a need for labs like this, but the concern is nothing is ever 100% foolproof. Could argue it’s a little ‘too soon’ given what happened in a similar lab in Wuhan, and how the people conducting these experiments and the processes themselves are not perfect and can lead to catastrophic error.
I guess that’s a risk/benefit assessment they run, and in any case, even if these experiments weren’t officially sanctioned and funded, you can bet they’d be happening in private somewhere anyway. All we can do is hope everyone follows procedure, washes their hands, locks the doors and all the rest of it. Fingers crossed!
To watch things get heated on the NY subway after a man confronted a young couple for wearing masks, click HERE. The debate never ends…