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Study Says China Experimenting With Deadly Virus, Experts Say “This Madness Must Be Stopped”

Study Says China Experimenting With Deadly Virus, Experts Say 'This Madness Must Be Stopped'

It is unclear from the study’s results how it might affect humans.

Chinese scientists are experimenting with a deadly virus that that has a 100 per cent kill streak in mice. The fatal virus, dubbed GX_P2V in a study published on bioRxiv, targeted the brains of mice whose genetic composition was designed to resemble that of humans. The researchers found that the mice lost significant weight within five days of infection, became lethargic, and their eyes turned white. They died just eight days after being infected, the researchers further wrote in the study.

The scientists expressed surprise at the rapid death rate.

“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 researchers wrote.

After analysing the bodies of the mice, they found that the virus had infected the lungs, bones, eyes, tracheas and brains. The brain infection was so severe that it killed the animals, the researchers concluded.

According to the study, carried out by the Beijing University of Chemical Technology, the virus was similar to Sars-CoV-2 and discovered in 2017 in pangolins before the Covid outbreak.

The research team wrote in the study that it is the first of its kind to report a 100 per cent mortality rate in mice infected by the coronavirus-related virus, going beyond the previously reported results from a different study.

Significantly, it is unclear from the study’s results how it might affect humans.

As soon as the study appeared online, experts raised concerns. Francois Balloux, an epidemiology expert at the University College London’s Genetics Institute, slammed the research as “terrible” and “scientifically totally pointless”.

“I can see nothing of vague interest that could be learned from force-infecting a weird breed of humanised mice with a random virus. Conversely, I could see how such stuff might go wrong,” he wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

Dr Gennadi Glinsky, a retired professor of medicine at Stanford, wrote: “This madness must be stopped before too late.”

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

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