In a recent study, Chinese scientists experimented with a mutant COVID-19 strain, which had a 100 percent kill streak in “humanized” mice.

In the study shared last week out of Beijing, the mice used in the experiment were engineered and had similar genetic makeup to people on which the deadly COVID-19 virus variant, GX_P2V, hit its brain.

The authors of the study wrote, “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,” reported nypost.com

About the mutant virus used in the experiment

The mutant virus is a mutated version of GX/2017, a coronavirus cousin that was reportedly discovered in Malaysian pangolins in 2017 — three years before the pandemic.

GX_P2V had infected the lungs, bones, eyes, tracheas, and brains of the dead mice, the last of which was severe enough to ultimately cause the death of the animals.

All the mice that were infected with the virus died within just eight days, which researchers noted was a “surprisingly” rapid death rate.

Visual Representation for COVID-19 testing | Credits: Getty Images

In addition to that, the the mice had quickly lost weight, exhibited a hunched posture, and moved extremely sluggishly in the days before their deaths, reported nypost.com

Strangely enough, their eyes turned completely white the day before they died.

First-of-its-kind study

The study is the first of its kind to report a 100 percent mortality rate in mice infected by the COVID-19-related virus. As mentioned by the researchers, the study mortality far surpassed previously reported results from another study.

Criticism gathered by the study

However, the study does not clearly indicate how it would impact human beings.

An epidemiology expert at the University College London’s Genetics Institute, Francois Balloux, criticized the research as “terrible” and “scientifically totally pointless,” nypost.com reported.

He further mentioned, “I can see nothing of vague interest that could be learned from force-infecting a weird breed of humanized mice with a random virus. Conversely, I could see how such stuff might go wrong.”

And continued stating, “The preprint does not specify the biosafety level and biosafety precautions used for the research.” and “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 potential pandemic pathogens,” nypost.com reported.

Visual Representation for new COVID variant | Credits: Getty Images

Professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Ruger’s University Richard H. Ebright backed up Balloux’s concerns with a simple: “concur.”

Moreover, a retired professor of medicine at Stanford, Dr Gennadi Glinsky, said, “This madness must be stopped before it is too late.”

The 2024 study does not appear to have any ties to China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology, which was the center of lab leak theories surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

US intelligence agencies over the summer found no direct evidence that the lab leaked the coronavirus, though it did not rule out the possibility that the virus came from a different one. The origin of COVID-19 is still unclear, nypost.com reported.

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