Scientists at Boston University have created a deadly new strain of COVID-19 that shows an 80 percent kill rate.
After modifying previous variants of the virus, researchers found that their lethal new hybrid strain killed most of the mice infected with it in lab testing.
The team made the hybrid virus by combining Omicron and the original Wuhan strain.
The spike protein is the unique structure that binds to and invades human cells.
It has always been present in the virus but has become more evolved over time.
Omicron has dozens of mutations on its spike protein that made it become so infectious.
Researchers attached Omicron’s spike to the original wildtype strain that first emerged in Wuhan at the start of the pandemic.
The researchers looked at how mice fared against the new hybrid strain compared to the original Omicron variant.
When a similar group of rodents was exposed to the standard Omicron strain, however, they all survived and only experienced “mild” symptoms.
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 researchers said it signaled that while the spike protein is responsible for infectivity, changes to other parts of its structure determine its deadliness.
The revelation exposes how dangerous virus manipulation research continues to go on even in the US, despite fears similar practices may have started the pandemic.
Professor Shmuel Shapira, a leading scientist in the Israeli Government, said: “This should be totally forbidden, it’s playing with fire.”
Gain-of-function research – when viruses are purposefully manipulated to be more infectious or deadly – is thought to be at the center of Covid’s origin.
A Chinese laboratory located just miles from the first cluster of cases carried out similar research on bat coronaviruses.
But the practice has been largely restricted in the US since 2017.
Dr. Richard Ebright, a chemist at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, told the that: “The research is a clear example of gain of function research.
“It is especially concerning that this new US-government ePPP research – like the previous US-government ePPP research on chimeric SARS-related coronaviruses at Wuhan Institute of Virology that may have caused the pandemic – appears not to have undergone the prior risk-benefit review mandated under US-government policies.
“If we are to avoid a next lab-generated pandemic, it is imperative that oversight of ePPP research be strengthened.
“It is imperative that the existing policies mandating prior risk-benefit assessment of ePPP research be followed, and it is imperative that officials at US-government agencies who repeatedly have placed the public at risk by repeatedly violating the existing policies be held accountable.”
David Livermore, a professor of microbiology at the UK’s University of East Anglia told the: “Given the strong likelihood that the Covid pandemic originated from the escape of a lab-manipulated coronavirus in Wuhan, these experiments seem profoundly unwise.”
This news comes after it recently emerged that Dr. Anthony Fauci’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded a huge taxpayer-funded grant to a scientific organization at the center of a scandal surrounding the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As Slay News reported, EcoHealth Alliance, led by Peter Daszak, won a new grant to conduct dangerous bat coronavirus surveillance research.
The grant was awarded on September 21 to EcoHealth Alliance, despite the organization being stripped of a previous award for failing to provide records essential to an investigation into the origins of Covid related to the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.
The new grant, titled “Analyzing the potential for future bat coronavirus emergence in Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam,” comes despite an open congressional investigation into the organization.