Chinese Lab Experiments on Highly Lethal COVID Variant

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January 17, 2024

A Chinese lab released a study earlier this year documenting its experiments on a particularly lethal coronavirus variant, with a 100 percent mortality rate on mice modified to mimic human viral reception.

The mice exposed to the strain, known as GX_P2V, all died within seven or eight days after the introduction of the virus, likely due to a brain infection occurring later in the viral process, scientists said in a pre-print detailing a study from Beijing, released Jan. 4. By day seven, the mice exhibited symptoms including weight loss, slouched posture, and white eyes.

"This underscores a spillover risk of GX_P2V into humans and provides a unique model for understanding the pathogenic mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2-related viruses," the scientists wrote in the abstract. Scientists first identified that coronavirus variant, found in pangolins, in 2017.

Multiple researchers publicly slammed the undertaking of the study.

"It's a terrible study, scientifically totally pointless. I can see nothing of vague interest that could be learned from force-infecting a weird breed of humanized mice with a random virus," wrote University College London Genetics Institute director Francois Balloux on X, formerly Twitter. "Conversely, I could see how such stuff might go wrong."

Rutgers University chemistry and chemical biology professor Richard Ebright wrote, "Concur," in reply to Balloux's post.

"The preprint does not specify the biosafety level and biosafety precautions used for the research," Ebright later told the Daily Mail. "The absence of this information raises the concerning possibility that part or all of this research, like the research in Wuhan in 2016-2019 that likely caused the COVID-19 pandemic, recklessly was performed without the minimal biosafety containment and practices essential for research with a potential pandemic pathogens."

Scrutiny over the study comes after former White House medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci testified to lawmakers in a private interview last week, reportedly affirming that the "lab leak" theory, the hypothesis that the virus that started the COVID-19 pandemic came from a Chinese laboratory, was not a conspiracy theory.

While most federal agencies do not officially support the lab leak theory as the explanation for the origins of the coronavirus, the FBI and Department of Energy have identified it as the most likely explanation.