TRUE OR FALSE. Covid-19: have researchers really developed a variant “deadly in 80% of cases”?

the essential
An article from DailyMail, published earlier this week, claims that researchers at Boston University have created a particularly deadly variant of Covid-19. What is it really? The Midi Dispatch make the point.

Mayhem in the halls of Boston University. Earlier this week, an article from DailyMail came to ignite the powder. The British daily indeed evokes the creation, in the laboratory, of a particularly dangerous “new strain” of Covid-19. This new variant – which would have been created from Omicron and the original strain of Wuhan – would have a “mortality rate of 80%”, resume our colleagues from the DailyMail in this article published this Monday, October 17.

This new strain “kills the infected host in 80% of cases”, resumes for his part Floriant Philippot, president of the “Patriots”, by sharing the article on social networks. The American press claims that scientists have grafted what is called the “Spike protein” (the key that allows Covid-19 to enter our cells, editor’s note) belonging to the Omicron variant “to the original Wuhan strain. “.

The goal, according to the British tabloid: to create the “most infectious virus of all time”. “Eight out of ten mice infected with the strain created in the laboratory died in the laboratory of Boston University”, thus describes the newspaper.

Read also :
TRUE OR FALSE. Covid-19: does a new variant of the Omicron family really cause diarrhea and vomiting?

On social networks, the news worries many Internet users. “Are the United States preparing for a new epidemic? Is this a weapon for a new war?” Asks Enrico on Twitter.

No “hyper-infectious” variant

What is it really? Simply a total misrepresentation of the research work conducted by Boston University. In practice, this study – the procedure and results of which have been posted online – simply aimed to compare the Spike protein of the Omicron variant with that of the original strain of the virus discovered in Wuhan.

Read also :
Covid-19: is the BQ.1.1 variant, from the Omicron family, about to restart the epidemic in France?

As part of this research, teams from the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL) used a specific species of mouse, particularly sensitive to SARS-CoV-2. In this animal species, the original strain of Covid-19, detected in Wuhan, indeed causes a “deadly infection”. During the tests of this research, this species of mouse indeed succumbed almost eight times out of ten to this virus. Conversely, all mice that had been infected with the Omicron variant of Covid-19 “survived”: “These results indicate that the Spike protein is not the main determinant of the pathogenicity of Omicron in mice” .

BU is refuting a series of false media claims about research at its National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories. In a statement, the University called the reporting “false and inaccurate.”

Details u2b07ufe0f

— Boston University (@BU_Tweets) October 18, 2022

No “hyper-infectious” variant was created by the researchers, only the original strain of the Wuhan virus killed these small rodents.

As soon as the article was published, Boston University strongly contested the statements made in the DailyMail, calling the article “false and inaccurate”. According to Ronald Corley, director of NEIDL, the misrepresentations that have been made about this research misrepresent “not only the results of the study, but also its objectives.”

Leave a Comment