Covid-19 virus strain made in lab leads to controversy

Study reveals that majority of Covid-related deaths are in vaccinated people

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A LABORATORY-made strain of Covid-19 has sparked controversy after Boston University created it for research purposes.

Scientists at BU’s National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories combined the omicron variant spike protein with the original virus, then tested their research on mice, with the aim of “helping to fight against future pandemics.”

Their findings saw the mice infected with just the BA.1 omicron variant survive after being infected with a mild case of the virus, while those who were given the lab-made combination had an 80 per cent mortality rate.

While the version scientists created was more potent than omicron, it was actually less deadly than the original Covid-19 virus by 20 per cent – the original SARS-CoV-2 virus killed 100 per cent of the mice that were tested.

BU has since released a statement after what it called “false and inaccurate” reports of the research surfaced online.

Several news outlets published stories that purported that the lab had created a “more dangerous” version without reporting the facts of the research.

BU said in a statement: “First, this research is not gain-of-function research, meaning it did not amplify the Washington state SARS-COV-2 virus strain (original virus from 2020) or make it more dangerous.”

The university added that the research made the virus replicate “less dangerous”, with researchers claiming that the study provides insights into omicron’s ability to cause disease, reports the Boston Herald.

Lead study author Mohsan Saeed said: “Consistent with studies published by others, this work shows that it is not the spike protein that drives Omicron pathogenicity, but instead other viral proteins.

“Determination of those proteins will lead to better diagnostics and disease management strategies.”

BU added that the research, reviewed and approved by the Institutional Biosafety Committee as well as Boston Public Health Commission, will help fight against future pandemics.

“Furthermore, this research mirrors and reinforces the findings of other, similar research performed by other organizations, including the FDA,” BU said. “Ultimately, this research will provide a public benefit by leading to better, targeted therapeutic interventions to help fight against future pandemics.”

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Vickie S
Written by

Vickie Scullard

A journalist of more than 12 years from Manchester, UK, Vickie now lives in Madrid and works as a news writer for the Euro Weekly News.