WTF are they doing? This is incomprehensible.
Researchers at Boston University have performed gain-of-function research using recombinant DNA. They combined the spike protein from the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus with the original strain of the virus and came up with an artificially created variant with an 80% mortality rate in mice. In mice the Omicron variant causes mild illness, not vast mortality.
When I first read the article I literally could not believe it. And I mean that seriously. It was too insane to believe.
But the Daily Mail has the goods, linking to the research itself, which indeed does say that scientists have developed such a virus. With an 80% mortality rate. Ugh!
The virus does not limit itself to infecting mice, either. It is 5 times more infectious in humans than the Omicron virus from which it was derived. Are they insane?
US researchers have developed a new lethal Covid strain in a laboratory – echoing the type of experiments many fear started the pandemic.
The mutant variant — which is a hybrid of Omicron and the original Wuhan virus — killed 80 percent of mice infected with it at Boston University.
When a similar group of rodents were exposed to the standard Omicron strain, however, they all survived and only experienced ‘mild’ symptoms.
The scientists also infected human cells with the hybrid variant and found it was five times more infectious than Omicron.
This suggests the man-made virus might be the most contagious form yet.
Gain of function research is incredibly controversial, and the CDC has been banned from providing grants to fund it, although we already know that the Eco-Health Alliance used CDC grant money to fund such research in Wuhan, China. Many people believe that the original strain of COVID was derived from this research and was accidentally released. This is a controversial topic and nobody knows beyond doubt where the virus originated, in an (undiscovered) animal host or from a lab. I lean toward the latter, but wouldn’t bet my life savings on it.
Many scientists defend gain-of-function research as a useful tool to discover defenses against potential emerging viruses; others believe that the world provides us with enough deadly viruses, thank you, and we don’t need to add to the world’s stores of man-killers since an accident could release them.
I would personally think any virus with an 80% mortality rate should be killed with fire, preferably of a nuclear variety. But that’s just me.
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 so infectious.
Researchers attached Omicron’s spike to the original wild type strain that first emerged in Wuhan at the start of the pandemic.
Links to the research can be found here on biorxrv.
The summary paragraph of the research states:
The recently identified, globally predominant SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant (BA.1) is highly transmissible, even in fully vaccinated individuals, and causes attenuated disease compared with other major viral variants recognized to date1-7. The Omicron spike (S) protein, with an unusually large number of mutations, is considered the major driver of these phenotypes3,8. We generated chimeric recombinant SARS-CoV-2 encoding the S gene of Omicron in the backbone of an ancestral SARS-CoV-2 isolate and compared this virus with the naturally circulating Omicron variant. The Omicron S-bearing virus robustly escapes vaccine-induced humoral immunity, mainly due to mutations in the receptor-binding motif (RBM), yet unlike naturally occurring Omicron, efficiently replicates in cell lines and primary-like distal lung cells. In K18-hACE2 mice, while Omicron causes mild, non-fatal infection, the Omicron S-carrying virus inflicts severe disease with a mortality rate of 80%. This indicates that while the vaccine escape of Omicron is defined by mutations in S, major determinants of viral pathogenicity reside outside of S.
The primary researchers come from Boston University Medical Center and the Cleveland Clinic in Florida–big names in the medical field.
The scientists also looked at the different strains’ effect on human lung cells that were grown in the lab.
Covid latches onto human cells with its spike protein, and instructs healthy cells to produce copies of itself.
Scientists measured how many copies each variant caused the health cells to produce.
They found the hybrid strain produced five times more viral particles than the original Omicron.
The scientists admit the hybrid virus is unlikely to be as deadly in humans as it was in mice.
This is because the specific breed of lab mice used are very susceptible to severe Covid disease. Mice and humans also have very different immune responses to the virus.
I, for one, am not especially comforted by the fact that they hope the new virus wouldn’t be as deadly in humans, although I expect they are correct about that. Their own tests indicate that it is 5 times more infectious in humans than Omicron, and we really have no idea how deadly it would be without human testing, and I vote against that!
Have we learned nothing at all from the past few years? While it is true that virologists simply must work with deadly pathogens in order to do their research, I can’t believe that we are actually creating deadlier versions in labs. Isn’t this how every zombie movie ever made kicks off?