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China ‘creates’ brain virus with 100% kill rate: Report

China flag. (Unsplash)
January 17, 2024

A new report claims Chinese scientists have developed a coronavirus strain that attacks the brain and has a 100% kill rate in mice used to experiment with the virus.

The report, which was obtained by Daily Mail, indicates that Beijing-based scientists allegedly linked to China’s military cloned the GX_P2V virus, which was originally discovered in 2019 in Malaysian pangolins prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Daily Mail, the virus was stored in a Beijing lab after it was initially cloned. While it has not yet been revealed when the newly disclosed study was completed, researchers involved with the experiment suggested that the coronavirus could have experienced a “virulence-enhancing mutation” while it was stored in the lab, which could have contributed to the virus’s kill rate.

“Severe brain infection during the later stages of infection may be the key cause of death in these mice,” researchers noted, according to Daily Mail. “This is the first report showing that a SARS-CoV-2-related pangolin coronavirus can cause 100 percent mortality in hACE2 mice, suggesting a risk for GX_P2V to spill over into humans.”

According to Daily Mail, the mice involved in the coronavirus research were “humanized” in order to examine how the virus could potentially impact humans. Researchers reportedly documented that each of the infected mice “surprisingly” died within just eight days.

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In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Francis Balloux, who is an infectious disease expert at University College London, described the study by Chinese scientists as “terrible” and “scientifically totally pointless.”

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

Richard Ebright, a chemistry professor at Rutgers University, told the Daily Mail that he agrees with Balloux’s perspective on the coronavirus research by Chinese scientists.

“The preprint does not specify the biosafety level and biosafety precautions used for the research,” Ebright stated. “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.”