Outrage Over Report Of Lab Creating Deadly COVID Strain With 80% Kill Rate

Mature female virologist examining test tube while working in laboratory

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Scientists at Boston University are being condemned for creating a new, lethal COVID strain in their laboratory, according to Daily Mail, which had initially reported the hybrid virus discovery.

The new strain combines omicron and the initial strain found in Wuhan and has reportedly killed 80% of mice during a recent study.

Professor Shmuel Shapira, a leading scientist with the Israeli government, referred to the reported hybrid virus as "playing with fire."

Boston University issued a statement on Monday (October 17) calling Daily Mail's report "false and inaccurate," adding that "this research made the virus replicate less dangerous,"

Gain of function research, which manipulates viruses to be more infectious are deadly, are among several theories linked to the spread of COVID-19.

A Chinese laboratory located miles from the initial cluster of cases is reported to have conducted similar research on bat coronavirus.

The process has been largely restricted in the United States since 2017, however, Rutgers University chemist Dr. Richard Ebright argues that the hybrid strain "research is a clear example of gain of function research."

"If we are to avoid a next lab-generated pandemic, it is imperative that oversight of enhanced potential pandemic pathogen research be strengthened," Ebright said via Daily Mail.

The new study, which was not peer-reviewed, involved researchers from Boston and Florida extracting omicron's spike protein, which binds to and invades human cells and has been present throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, but evolved with newer strains having more mutations to be even more infectious, according to Daily Mail.

The researchers compared how mice fared against the new hybrid strain compared to the original omicron strain, with a group of rodents experiencing "mild" symptoms to omicron, while a similar group faced an 80% mortality rate in relation to the new hybrid strain.

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