Chinese Researchers Investigate Lethal Mutant COVID-19 Strain in Laboratory Experiments

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Chinese researchers are working with a mutant COVID-19 strain that supposedly has a 100% mortality rate in mice, which is reminiscent of the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The strain targets the brains of mice engineered to mirror a genetic makeup similar to humans, with most mice succumbing to the virus within just eight days of infection.

Mice Infected with Mutant COVID Strain Display Disturbing Signs

The alarming symptoms observed in the mice include weight loss, lethargy, a hunched posture, and the peculiar occurrence of their eyes turning completely white one day before death. 

Dr. Kristin Englund, while cautioning that the study is small and the paper is yet to undergo peer review, emphasized the importance of paying attention to data emerging from China, given the country’s extensive research on coronaviruses.

The mice used in the study were humanized, meaning their immune systems were tailored to resemble those of humans. 

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Chinese-researchers-investigate-lethal-mutant-covid-strain-in-laboratory-experiments
Chinese researchers are working with a mutant COVID-19 strain that supposedly has a 100% mortality rate in mice, which is reminiscent of the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, Englund noted significant modifications in the mice, particularly an increase in ACE receptors, which the COVI-19 virus exploits to enter cells.

Despite concerns about the potential leak of the virus from the lab, infectious disease expert Dr. Aileen Marty from Florida International University urged caution and reassurance. 

She emphasized the value of well-contained studies in appropriate laboratories, highlighting their role in staying ahead of natural changes and facilitating the development of monoclonal antibodies, enzyme inhibitors, and improved vaccines.

Dr. Marty stressed the need for global oversight to ensure the safe conduct of research in China, addressing fears raised by some about the possibility of a lab leak contributing to the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As scientists delve into understanding this mutant strain, the global community remains vigilant, balancing the importance of scientific progress with the imperative of safety and containment.

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