China toys with deadly new COVID strain: When will the madness end?


China’s virologists are at it again, shamelessly playing with a new coronavirus that’s 100% lethal in human-transgenic mice. 

What will stop this madness? 

Scientists at high-level labs in Beijing and Nanjing pumped mice (with their genes altered to resemble human ones) full of a lab-cultivated strain of GX/2017, a COVID cousin first discovered in pangolins three years before the pandemic.

Every mouse thus infected died an agonizing death. 

Worse, experts around the world fear that the labs lack adequate biosafety measures — since the Chinese researchers’ initial report of their findings didn’t specify anything about safety measures. 

Responsible science this isn’t: Says Francois Balloux, an epidemiology expert at University College London, “I can see nothing of vague interest that could be learned from force-infecting a weird breed of humanized mice with a random virus. Conversely, I could see how much stuff might go wrong.”

Hand Balloux the Understatement of the Year Award. 

The researchers themselves suggest what “might go wrong”: “a spillover risk of GX_P2V into humans.” 

Hmmm. Then maybe stop playing with fire before you start another global conflagration. 

Look, while we’re unlikely to ever know the real origin of COVID for sure, the balance of evidence strongly points to accidental release from the Wuhan Institute of Virology due to lax safety protocols. 

That view is now shared by the US government, and certainly explains the behavior of China’s autocratic regime: destroying all records from the lab and imprisoning doctors who sounded the alarm.

And the fact that this new research is taking place at all, with the scientists comfortable announcing their findings to the world, shows China’s recklessness even post-pandemic. 

Getting Beijing to clamp down on such insanity ought to be a top priority for every world health authority, and indeed every other government.

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