A team of Chinese researchers has successfully developed a mutant strain of the coronavirus with an alarming 100% kill rate in mice, specifically designed to target brain cells, the Daily Mail reported.
The findings, detailed in a contentious study, highlight the pathogen’s enhanced lethality and the potential risk it poses for spillover into human populations.
The preprint study, which was published on the bioRxiv website on January 3, detailed the experiment conducted by these researchers using a variant of the “pangolin coronavirus”. This virus was introduced to a group of mice to study the effects.
“SARS-CoV-2-related pangolin coronavirus GX_P2V(short_3UTR) can cause 100% mortality in human ACE2-transgenic mice, potentially attributable to late-stage brain infection. 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,” according to the study.