EXCLUSIVE: ‘This is playing with fire – it could spark a lab-generated pandemic’: Experts slam Boston lab where scientists have created a new deadly Covid strain with an 80% kill rate | DailyMail.com

  • Researchers added Omicron’s spike protein to the original Wuhan Covid strain
  • Omicron’s spike is highly mutated which made it the most infectious variant ever
  • Eight in 10 mice infected with the lab-created strain died at Boston University lab

Boston University scientists were today condemned for ‘playing with fire’ after it emerged they had created a lethal new Covid strain in a laboratory.

DailyMail.com revealed the team had made a hybrid virus — combining Omicron and the original Wuhan strain — that killed 80 per cent of mice in a study.

The revelation exposes how dangerous virus manipulation research continues to go on even in the US, despite fears similar practices may have started the pandemic.

Professor Shmuel Shapira, a leading scientist in the Israeli Government, said: ‘This should be totally forbidden, it’s playing with fire.’

Gain of function research – when viruses are purposefully manipulated to be more infectious or deadly – is thought to be at the center of Covid’s origin.

A Chinese laboratory located just miles from the first cluster of cases carried out similar research on bat coronaviruses.

But the practice has been largely restricted in the US since 2017.

Dr Richard Ebright, a chemist at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, told DailyMail.com that: ‘The research is a clear example of gain of function research.

He added: ‘If we are to avoid a next lab-generated pandemic, it is imperative that oversight of enhanced potential pandemic pathogen research be strengthened.’

In the new research , which has not been peer-reviewed, a team of researchers from Boston and Florida extracted Omicron’s spike protein — the unique structure that binds to and invades human cells. It has always been present but it has become more evolved over time. Omicron has dozens of mutations in its spike protein that made it so infectious. Researchers attached Omicron’s spike protein to the original wildtype strain that first emerged in Wuhan at the start of the pandemic. The researchers looked at how mice fared under the new hybrid strain compared to the original Omicron variant

Continued on Source: Boston University CREATES new Covid strain that has an 80% kill rate